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I went through early menopause – now I help other women through it

 Menopause coach Emma Neville, 44, shares what she learned when she went through the life change 

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Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
16 April 2024
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When I was 39, a medical specialist told me I was 'seriously menopausal.'

I was diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) at 40 and had no eggs left in my ovaries. I was in disbelief, asking myself, "How can this be happening to me?" I thought menopause was at least a decade away and I imagined that when it arrived, it would come with some hot flushes and that was it.

Instead, my symptoms saw me feeling incredibly stressed, unable to sleep and with heightened emotions, crying at the drop of a hat. My joints were aching and I struggled to get out of bed in the morning.

Two mature women hugging each other. Elegantly dressed. Woman psychologist practicing with patient women. Coach session between girlfriends.© Getty
Emma didn't have any friends going through menopause at the same time as her

I wasn't even in my forties and should have been in my prime, but my body was giving up on me and I went through a mini-bereavement.

My experience taught me that I truly knew nothing about menopause, but when I delved into it, it turned out my mum had gone through early menopause too, which means my two daughters are likely to as well.

My biggest blessing is that at 39, I already had two beautiful daughters, but I wanted to let them know that they're likely to follow in my footsteps with an early menopause, so if they want to start planning children, they might need to think about it earlier. I felt I owed it to them to become as clued up as I possibly could, and it spurred me on to train as a menopause coach, to help other women transition into their new era, with as much knowledge as possible

While menopause in my thirties was not how I saw my life panning out, within the menopausal space, I've met my tribe of women who made me feel supported and heard.

 READ: Nobody told me menopause would impact my friendships 

I host community workshops to help other women feel prepared, and appear on panels for brands such as ESPA to raise awareness. As much as public speaking was completely out of my comfort zone, menopause has given me a voice, courage and confidence to tell my story. If I can help one person within that space, then I feel like my job's done.

Group of women chatting around a round table© ESPA
Emma wants to help other women through menopause

What I want others to know about menopause

If I could give other women one piece of advice to prepare for menopause, it would be get to know your body. Track your periods so you know when something isn't quite right.

Get to know your anatomy and don't feel like any question is silly. Listen to your body and tune in and be aware of anything changing.

 DISCOVER: Menopause skincare solutions - 10 essentials for menopausal women according to the experts 

Don't wait around for symptoms to pass, because the quicker you understand what is happening, the faster you can seek help.

I feel that this generation will be the one to change things, but to do so we need to keep sharing our stories and taking ownership of our experiences.

 Follow Emma on Instagram for more practical menopause advice

Introducing HELLO!'s Second Act

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HELLO! wanted to create a space dedicated to sharing incredible stories from midlife; somewhere you can find inspiring stories of like-minded women, living their best life beyond 45.

Enter, Second Act...

For too long, we were expected to fade into the background when we hit 45, but we're here to reframe your Second Act as a celebratory, exciting new chapter with endless possibilities ahead.

From women who embarked on new careers in their fifties, to those who travelled the world alone after their children left home, to women who finally felt confident when they reached their forties, Second Act is devoted to celebrating the incredible stories of midlife, and we'd love to have you along for the journey - because being part of a community makes everything more enjoyable.

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