KIM WOOD often finds herself sweating through social engagements.
''I'll be sitting at a table at lunch fanning myself and people look at me strangely and I'll say, 'It's just menopause,''' the 37-year-old says.
''People say, 'You're a bit young to be going through that,' and then I tell them the story.''
Ms Wood experienced menopause at 34. She had lost one ovary after an ectopic pregnancy and the second one was removed in 2008 as part of her treatment for breast cancer.
Unlike women with unexplained menopause, Ms Wood was prepared for the symptoms. But she still found them hard to manage.
''A week after surgery, I was straight into menopause,'' she said. ''The first two weeks were the worst. I felt like something had taken over my body. I had the hot flushes, I had the mood swings, I had the fidgets, I wanted to get out of the car and punch someone. I just lost the plot completely.
''But just as quick as those symptoms came, they went away. I was very fortunate.''
While most of the physical symptoms have abated, the Melbourne woman still struggles with the psychological side. But her husband, who she met while having chemotherapy for breast cancer, has been supportive.
''You do ask yourself the question: why me? You do feel detached from the lower half of your body. You lose your identity to a degree. You just have to manage it. I have my good days and I have my bad days.''
She said there was little support for young women going through menopause.