5-Year-Old Girl Is Facing Menopause a Year After Getting Her First Period

5 year old going through menopause
Tam Dover/GoFundMe

For most girls, puberty is something that happens in the tween and teen years. It's awkward and scary enough getting your first period once you've had a health class or two to help you prepare for it. But one little girl and her mom got a deeply unsettling shock when she started her period at just 4 years old. Now 5, the little girl is on the verge of menopause, and her mom is speaking out about the rare conditions that caused it.

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Tam Dover says her family noticed something was different about their little girl, Emily, when she reached the size of an average 1-year-old at only 4 months. From there, Emily continued to mature quickly. By the time she was 2 years old, she had already started to develop breasts, a strong body odor, and cystic acne.

It wasn't until she started menstruating at 4 years old that doctors at the Pediatric Acute Care Unit in Wyong Hospital in Australia began performing a series of tests to determine the case of her accelerated growth and early puberty. Through these tests, doctors determined that the hormones in Emily's body were similar to that of a pregnant woman's.

Emily was diagnosed with central precocious puberty -- a condition found in both boys and girls that causes signs of puberty to exhibit before the age of 8. Doctors also found that Emily had Addison's disease -- an endocrine disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands don't produce enough hormones. It is due to these conditions that Tam says her now-5-year-old daughter will be facing menopause in a matter of months. 

More from CafeMom: Teacher Urges Parents to Have the 'Period Talk' Early After a 4th-Grader's Mortifying Experience

tam dover
Tam Dover/GoFundMe

Tam explained how hard it has been to watch her daughter come to the realization that she is different from other children. "It's difficult to explain to her what is happening," she said in an interview with the Mirror. "She knows she's different, she knows she's much bigger than other children. She's very conscious of her body."

As the little girl also suffers from an anxiety disorder and a sensory processing disorder, Tam worries about how her daughter will fair in school and later in life. "There are so many aspects of her life that, thankfully, she is too young to be completely aware of that are going to impact her," she said. "That impact will be when she starts school next year, and will have to face being the kid that is so different to others."

4 year old girl gets her period
Tam Dover/GoFundMe

The mother explains that due to her accelerated growth, Emily experiences constant pain in her bones, chest, and stomach. Emily is set to start a hormone replacement therapy soon. During this therapy, the little girl will receive an injection once every three months. While it should help ease the effects of her disorder, her mothers says that it will also "throw her into menopause, with all the side effects that 50+-year-old women have."

Due to the astronomical cost of Emily's therapies and procedures -- with one single hormone injection costing $1,455 -- the family has created a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses. 

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Even with her daughter's struggle and her own worries, Tam has stressed just how lucky she is to have a child like Emily. "At 5 years old, Emily is the strongest, most caring girl I know," she told the Mirror. "Despite everything, she is so happy."

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