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Early menopause and not coping

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #339034

    nycartist
    Participant

    After a year and a half of irregular periods, and being totally disregarded by doctors, I finally have a diagnosis. At 37 years old, I have premature ovarian failure. I’m devastated. Thankfully I did have a child at 34, and she is a joy. We are at peace with our family being complete, but the anxiety I am feeling about my own health is overwhelming. As you can imagine, going through menopause before 40 years old is not exactly good. It increases the chances of many health risks later in life. I have the choice of trying to live with this naturally or treating it with hormone therapy, which comes with its own risks. I’m just very upset, and depressed and STRESSED about this. I’m afraid for my bones and my brain and my daughter. I want to live a full life. It’s strange that menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life, but if it happens at the wrong time, it’s a big deal. I’m just so very sad and scared.

    #339042

    anita
    Participant

    Dear nycartist:

    I am so sorry, nycartist. I just read a bit from Wikipedia’s entry on Premature Ovarian Failure POF).

    It reads there that it can happen to a girl as young as 11, and that the cut off age to be diagnosed with it is 40.

    I wonder if this means that you, being 37, let’s say the failure has been happening since you were 35 or 36. I wonder if the risks involved in the failure are way less than if you were 15 or 25 0r 30. Maybe the increase of chances of health problems is way less for women closer to 40???

    anita

    #339058

    nycartist
    Participant

    Thank you Anita. I hope so. One thing my doctor said that I am trying to keep in mind is she said “you can’t live life without some kind of risk”. That is very well true. So whatever I decide, hormone therapy, or to go without, it comes with risk. So does eating potato chips every day. lol. Still, it’s very hard to accept that some part of my body is “Failing”. I’m trying so so hard to look at all the positives….I got a healthy daughter with virtually no trouble conceiving, while many other people struggle with starting families. I have a loving husband who is extremely supportive. This has made me take action in joining a gym two months ago and I am suddenly able to run over 2 miles. I’m trying my best to take care of my body. Overcoming the initial diagnosis and trying not to let it define me is indeed a real challenge, but I know there is more to me than this. It’s also tough because none of my friends are dealing with this yet, and so it’s not easy to talk about. I feel old and broken, though I know it’s something all we women go through at some point. I can’t imagine going through this as a teenager or a woman in my 20s. That must be very hard. I do hope you’re right and that the risks are not as bad at this age, but I don’t know.

    #339064

    anita
    Participant

    Dear nycartist:

    The term Premature ovarian failure (POF) has premature in it because ovarian failure happens to every single woman as part of aging. So it’s different from other organ failures like liver failure, or heart failure that most people never  experience in their lifetimes.

    POF is a conditions in which ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. (When the ovaries fail after the age of 40, it’s called menopause). Wikipedia states that the age of 40 was chosen as the cut- off point for a diagnosis, and that It was “chosen somewhat arbitrarily, as all women’s ovaries decline in function over time”.

    Wiki: “Menopause typically occurs between 49 and 52 years of age”, in its entry on Menopause, Wiki states: “The average age of the last period in the United States is 51.. in India and the Philippines, the median age of natural menopause is considerably earlier, at 44 years. In its entry on aging, Wikipedia states: “menopause typically occurs between 44 and 58 years of age”- consistent with it happening at 44 in some countries.

    www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pmc/ articles/ PMC2815011/ (no spaces) states: “Women who experience premature menopause (before age 40 years) or early menopause (between ages 40 and 45 years) experience an increase risk of overall mortality, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, psychiatric diseases, osteoporosis, and other sequelae. The risk of adverse outcomes increases with earlier age at the time of menopause”.

    This is how I understand the above quote (I am not a medical professional of any kind): the risk in premature menopause aka ovarian failure is the same risk all people, men and women experience as part of aging. Aging in itself carries “an increase risk of overall mortality”. Al the diseases mentioned in the quote, statistically increase with aging.

    Here is my non- professional understanding: a woman starts aging at 25. When a woman experiences premature menopause at 25, her somewhat escalated aging starts at 25 and by 45, with 20 years of escalated aging behind her, her chances of disease are congruent with 20 years of escalated aging.

    You are 37, so when you are 45, you will have 8 years of somewhat escalated aging, and therefore you will be at 45 in a better shape than the 25 year old I mentioned. In other words, it does matter how close you are to the (arbitrary) 40 when you experience early menopause.

    In summary: when I first read your original post I was alarmed by the word “failure” having in mind such things as liver failure which is a horrible thing. But now, I am thinking that as long as there is no other medical condition behind your menopause (and putting aside the issue of plans you may have had to get pregnant again), it is an undesirable head start in the aging process, but not a terrible one. You are .. a few years ahead in aging, that is all.

    As you know not all women age in the same pace, there are women in their 60s who exercise daily and take care of themselves who are in better physical shape than women in their 40s who don’t take care of themselves.

    If I am making a point that you didn’t think about, if I am- take it to a professional and ask about it, will you?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
    #339066

    anita
    Participant

    Dear nycartist:

    I worked on the above post for more than an hour. After I submitted it, I saw your second post for the first time. It is quite amazing, the parallels between what you wrote in it and the post I just sent you, isn’t it?

    I will be back to the computer in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #339102

    nycartist
    Participant

    Anita, each time I come onto this forum, I’m blown away by the care and time you give to so many people. The fact that you would take time out of your night to research this speaks volumes about what an empathetic person you are. Truly, I appreciate it. I don’t know where you are or how old you are, or if you’ve gone through menopause yet yourself, but you’ve put more effort into comforting me about this than some of my best friends. Thank you again. You are right, the “risks” are basically aging faster. And though the term seriously sucks, all ovaries eventually fail at some point. It doesn’t mean my body is broken. As I mentioned, this has motivated me to approach a healthier lifestyle, which can only help, no matter what. As for medical treatment, I’m still searching for answers. I didn’t mention it before, but my mother had a stroke at just 40 years old due to birth control. And I’ve never wanted to go on it..now I’m facing possibly long-term hormonal treatment which makes me anxious. But I have to weigh the benefits a d risks. Thank you for listening.❤️

    #339112

    anita
    Participant

    Dear nycartist:

    You are welcome and thank you for your appreciation.. I appreciate it!

    I read your third post and re-read your second:

    1. “I am suddenly able to run over 2 miles”- running is risky at any age, but especially if one’s bone mass decreases and the person is more prone to fractures. Brisk walking provides the same aerobic exercise benefits without the risks. Whether you take hormones or not, it makes sense to walk fast (3-4 miles per hour),  but not to run. When you run your body weight drops on your joints again and again every time you hit the ground;  when you walk (or swim) that doesn’t happen (I walk 3.5 miles per day, I am in my fifties, post menopause).

    2. I read about menopausal hormone therapy. I am sure you have all the information you need available to you, but it won’t hurt if I share with you a few things that I read (Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia):

    – “for best results, hormone therapy should be tailored to each person and re-evaluated every so often to be sure its benefits still outweigh the risks”.

    – when a woman still has her uterus, estrogen is never prescribed alone, it is always prescribed with progesterone, because estrogen alone increases the risk of uterine cancer.

    – “In the largest clinical trial to date, a combination estrogen-progestin pill (Prempro) increased the risk of certain serious conditions, including: heart disease, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer. Subsequent studies have suggested that these risks vary, depending on age.”- younger age- less risks, more benefits, but not necessarily, depending on other factors such as lifestyle and body weight.

    – Regarding osteoporosis, there are other drugs that “effectively maintain bone density and decrease the risk of breaking a bone as a result of osteoporosis”, so keep in mind that menopausal hormonal therapy is not the only therapy to prevent or improve the loss of bone density. Mayo mentions  “lifestyle changes and medications other than hormone therapy for long term protection” (of osteoporosis and heart disease following menopause).

    -regarding your mother suffering a stroke when she was 40 as a result of taking birth control, I read in Wikipedia: “The combined oral contraceptive (COC)  pill.. includes a combination of an estrogen.. and a progestogen (specifically a progestin).. COC pills with more than 5 micrograms of estrogen increase the risk of ischemic stroke and myocardial infraction but lower doses appear safe. These risks are greatest in women with additional factors, such as smoking (which increases risk substantially) and long- continued use of the pill, especially in women over 35 years of age”- so.. better see to it that the dosage of estrogen you take is lower than 5 microgram…? (ask a doctor).

    – The more years a woman uses the pill, the greater the risk. Same with menopausal hormone therapy, the more years, the greater the risk. I read that it is not recommended to do the menopausal hormone therapy when a woman is 45 or older. So I figure if you do this therapy, it should not be for longer than 8 years… or shorter? (ask a doctor).

    – The following harms everyone at any age and any condition: smoking, too much alcohol, immobility, over-exercise, malnutrition, obesity. (I also read today what is news to me, that too much animal protein causes a depletion of calcium).

    I hope you post again with your thoughts, feelings and what’s next for you.

    anita

     

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