Menopause at an early age

Hi everyone,

I have been waiting for help, and considering what I will do should my remaining ovary be removed. I have made it clear I would like to keep it if it's healthy, as there's no history of ovarian cancer in my family, and at the age of 40 I'm not keen to take the gamble of hormone replacement for 10+ years.

I don't know if I'm misguided, however. I'm coming face to face with the lack of post-reproduction education we teach our children. I had all kinds of education about how to be a reproductive woman (or how to prevent being reproductive) but menopause is a huge hole in my understanding.

Today, on BBC news just now, they reported that Angelina Jolie has undergone surgery to have her ovaries removed as a preventative measure against cancer, and that story brought the "to HRT, or not to HRT, and for how long" question. She's 39, and I'm sure she's undergoing some kind of replacement and I know she's trying to raise awareness. I wish I could ask her to speak up about what menopause means, what it looks like, what it does to your body.

I'm afraid, if I part ways with my surviving ovary, I'll lose my sex drive, I'll lose my energetic drive to be as active as I've been before being brought down by this latest wave of endo symptoms. I'm afraid my body will change and it will be harder to keep fit, I worry my clothes won't fit. But I know nothing.

Conversely, im worried about what HRT "for the rest of my life" (as one gyne put it so delicately, and I'm assuming she meant until my 50's or somewhere near the rest of my expected reproductive life...) can do to me in terms of creating other problems.

I'm a little astounded that I understand so little about menopause, and can't find much good information to equip myself with when gynecologists so freely suggest Zolodex and total hysterectomies, and HRT.

Anyway, just my rambling thoughts for the morning while I sit through another day waiting for help.

Love to you all xx

13 Replies

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  • I totally understand, I feel the same about lack of information about the menopause. When we were teenagers we were given booklets and advise and lots of information. I have 10% of an ovary left and have just stopped taking norethisterone medication to see if I have a period to establish if I am menopausal with not very much expert advice from my GP, I feel I am doing this alone, not knowing what to expect. I trawled Amazon for books and found some helpful ones but that can be costly especially if the book ends up useless! Perhaps there is menopause forum?

  • Yeah, I am loathe to spend money on books, never mind not really needing to have a book case full of books about menopause that I'm going to leaf through once then never lift again. It's kind of ridiculous. I almost want to write to Mrs. Jolie Pitt and ask her to please be an advocate for women in menopause! Just that kind of visibility that she has brought to simply having her ovaries removed, she's in a perfect position to push for education for women and girls to understand what it is, what it means personally, and make us aware there are apparently options for managing symptoms other than just HRT (I think!).

    I hope this thread helps us both get a little information and understanding about what to expect and what we can do to look after ourselves! x

  • Yes totally agree I had radical hystertomy in Dec,meaning hot flushes now and extremely tired but as yet no one has discussed if I need to be on any hormone replacement, got follow up appt with gynae early May so will see what she says then.

    I am 41 so assune this is classed as early menopause.

    Hope u get on ok.

    Xxx

  • I don't understand this. WHY?! Why is this not discussed AS A MATTER OF IMPORTANCE before or immediately after a total hysterectomy is performed?! How can they strip a woman of what has been an incredibly integral part of her life, that cyclical process and certain chemical state of being, and expect her to manage when it is suddenly stopped without discussing it!?

    This really cheeses me off. I hope your quality of life isn't too interrupted by your lack of professional care. I'm sending hugs! xx

  • Hi. I had a full hysterectomy 8years ago and was put on HRT straight away (I was only 36 at the time). I had no problem with the HRT (evoral patches) itself and had six years of being pain free. However 2years ago I started with chronic pain in my right side front and back. Unfortunately they left adhesions around my bowel and that has spread to my bladder and maybe other parts which the HRT has contributed to. Therefore I'm having my 3rd laparoscopy next week. It really depends on the individual how your body will reacts to either HRT or going through the menopause early. My gynaecologist also explained the high risk of osteoporosis. I hope this helps you Hun. Take care. Xx

  • This is the exact thing I fear with long term HRT usage. I see no way that introducing oestrogen into the body at any dosage level over a long period of time won't just create the same problem for any endo lesions missed in previous surgeries.

    I am currently suffering the same pain in my right side up near the corner of my bowel (which the doctors still aren't convinced is endo related because it's not cyclical pain and chronic but I KNOW I am adhered there, I just know it) as well as pain in my lower abdomen (I know my remaining ovary is adhered to my uterus, so its very likely much of my pelvic pain is due to more adhesions) and I'm scheduled for surgery in May and I have a feeling it's going to be a bit complicated. There's a lot of work to do in there. And if they have to remove my ovary, if they missed anything and I have to be on HRT until I'm in my 50s I am going to end up right back on the operating table.

    I'm also a very active person. I adventure race and mountain bike and trail run and I don't see myself doing very well if I start suffering bone loss. I can't be doing with that.

    Sigh...

    Thank you so much for your input. Best of luck with your lap next week. I'll be thinking of you, and I'm sending you love! x

  • Thank you Hun. Xx

  • I had hysterectomy and ovaries out in feb - I see my dr post radical hysterectomy in April I am 43 experiencing hot flushes dizzy spells and palpitations he said if I can manage without hrt the better chance of endo not returning I am trying to manage flushes with diet and supplements some days I have minimal flushes other days they are all day and night. My 6 weeks is up this weekend so will test the reduced "libido" theory out. My pains have fully gone by the way but along with hysterectomy I did have endo excised off bowel bladder and pelvis and adhesions sorted. I'm hoping to have a pain free life (maybe with the odd lap here and there :-/ ) take care ladies x

  • Thanks for that! I hope the libido test goes ok. Would you let me know if you do experience a lack of drive, and how your energy levels are if you don't mind? These are things I really worry about, and if I could manage without HRT (because it sounds like, with HRT, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't) or can manage menopausal symptoms and get some kind of benefit from diet and supplements, I would go for it. I know each woman's experience is different, but whatever experiential evidence I can gather to help make my decisions clearer, the better!

    Take care of yourself. So glad to hear you're pain free. xx

  • Most of the Angelina reports focus on the 'positive' aspect of what she has chosen to do and how brave she is. She is absolutely entitled to her choice and I respect her decision. Her predicament is also different to mine and this type of decision is very personal which is something she has stressed. So I was interested to find another view on this whole story greenmedinfo.com/blog/bewar...

  • That is EXTREMELY interesting! Thank you for that!

  • My energy levels are much better than pre op but still not normal - I for the time being think I have made the right decision for rad hyster as I was pain free immediately after op but I am praying it stays that way - only time will tell - I have eliminated caffeine and sugar out of my diet which has helped too :-) x

  • I'm so glad things are going successfully! Long may that continue! :) x

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