Menopause at 27
I am 27 years old and experiencing menopause. Those hot flashes everyone dreads? Yeah I
have them. The heartburn? It kills. I have the hormone levels of someone twice my age. Now
I knew about the possibility of entering menopause after my treatment.
I knew that it was a risk of trying to live MS free, but I don’t think at the time I fully grasped what it would entail.
The first three months post-transplant I was hopeful since I maintained my period. But that
has since stopped and recent blood tests showed results related to menopause. I prepared
for losing my fertility and harvested 20 eggs as a ‘just in case’ scenario. I thought that taking
this step would make me, okay, but I forgot to consider how I would feel mentally and
emotionally knowing that I will now be unable to conceive a child naturally. I know that I am
fortunate to have 20 of my eggs harvested and that when and if I choose to have a child, I
still have options. But still, this one stings.
My experience made me realize a problem in Women’s health care. Personally, I felt that my
doctors were not sympathetic to how it would feel to be twenty-seven and incapable of
conceiving a child naturally. In fact, it was the nurses who talked to me about my fertility and
sexual health. This has been a huge eye-opener for me about women and our health
concerns in the health care system.
I have three male doctors that I see for my HSCT/MS treatments. None of them have asked me about sexual function or menopause. When I was making the decision to harvest eggs the doctors had me to talk to the nurse about it. When my period stopped the doctor told me I had to wait for my hormone test because he felt there really was no reason for it.
Thank God for Fellow Women
It was my female nurse practitioner who was the only person to
make the decision to ask me about my sexual health, function, performance, and
menopause. She listened to me, understood my concerns and she was the one who ordered
my hormone test when I told her that my period has stopped months prior. I think we need to
reduce the disconnect between women’s health and sexual function. If the majority of my
doctors are male, why are we not talking about these things?
Going through menopause right now is heartbreaking. Because of my early menopause, I
face the possibility of hormone replacement, osteoporosis, I have an increased risk for CVD
and other illnesses. I was lucky to be able to freeze my eggs, but that came at a personal
cost of ten thousand dollars. Not everyone has this as an option.
It hurts to know that I am in menopause, but I am happy that I am MS free so far. So the benefits far outweigh the negatives, but the negatives still weigh heavily on my mind. I mean, we all know that periods
suck, so I guess that’s the silver lining