13-Year-Old Started Getting Hot Flushes… and Then Doctors Made a Sad Discovery

When a thirteen-year-old started getting hot flushes and even losing her hair, she was sure something was wrong with her. But it wasn’t until four years later that she finally received the diagnosis.

13-Year-Old Started Getting Hot Flushes… and Then Doctors Made a Sad Discovery
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While other thirteen-year-old girls worry about getting their periods, Cathy Phillips-Brady had a very different problem. She started bleeding at the age of eleven and by the time she was twelve, her periods were more constant and often lasted for months.

Four painful years of uncertainty

In addition to the uncontrollable bleeding, she also suffered from extreme period pains, particularly in her lower back, and her doctor prescribed her medication for her cramps (mefenamic acid, as the Daily Mail reported).

But then, her periods suddenly stopped and instead of bleeding, the young girl started experiencing hot flushes and mood swings. She also noticed problems with her short-term memory at school and feelings of anxiety. When she suddenly started noticing she was losing her hair, she went back to the doctor for a check-up.

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Hot flashes, a common symptom of menopause. Frederic Cirou @Getty Images

A distressing diagnosis

As a result, she had to undergo all kinds of tests such as those to check for cervical cancer and even for an obstruction in her fallopian tubes or glands. Everything was checked. But it was only when she was seventeen years old that the harrowing diagnosis was finally made: premature ovarian failure.

This was obviously sad news for seventeen-year-old Cathy, because this diagnosis is extremely rare in such young people. It means that her body was no longer producing eggs in her ovaries and that she had become sterile. She had gone through premature menopause, a stage which usually occurs in women between the ages of 40 and 50.

A glimmer of hope

Today, Phillips-Brady is 31 years old and has put this difficult part of her life behind her, but is still concerned about the issue of her infertility. Despite the premature menopause, she and her partner would still like to have a baby. They haven’t given up hope of finding an egg donor and if this doesn’t work, they plan to adopt.

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