Menopause before 30

Menopause, yes, I am talking about it!
It is so much more than people think it is, and not something that is widely talked about.

After my cancer diagnosis and hysterectomy at the age of 28, my body went from the normal amount of healthy 28-year-old estrogen to having basically none. It was a shock to my system as my body was forced into an early menopause. Going through menopause 30 years before my body was expected to, I have learned a lot about this female stage of life and the power that hormones have in our bodies.

So, in case you’re not familiar with this topic, what exactly is menopause?

Menopause is defined as being the 12 months after a woman’s last natural period. In this time, a woman’s body changes a lot. They are no longer producing eggs, and estrogen production is tapering off. This affects menstruation, and fertility of course, but it also affects a woman’s ability to sleep, her mood, bone density, body temperature, heart function, brain function, skin health, and the list goes on and on. Many of these symptoms can continue into the years following, known as post-menopause, which is the stage until the end of a woman’s life.

Menopause is a normal part of aging and a completely expected transition, at the age of 45-55 on average. But not something that I was anticipating having to deal with before the age of 30.

In the days after my hysterectomy, and before I was prescribed my hormone therapy, I experienced several menopausal symptoms. I am now on hormone therapy treatment, and I don’t experience those symptoms anymore, but there are still some unique risks to my health as result of the synthetic hormones that I will have to take for the rest of my life.

Because this is not something that is openly talked about, people often equate menopause as just being the end of menstruation and fertility. People have asked me, “why do you even need to take estrogen post-hysterectomy if you don’t have a uterus anymore?” I must admit that I was surprised that they were even asking this, indicating that they knew so little about the female body and menopause.

Menopause is so much more than just hot flashes, loss of fertility, and no longer having a monthly period. For the record though, if you ever have menopausal or post-menopausal women in your life complaining about hot flashes, take them seriously, they are one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever experienced.

Without getting too science heavy here, let me explain my experiences of menopause before the age of 30.

When I was first prescribed estrogen, I was still in the hospital. The patch that I wear is a small sticker that I put on my lower back or stomach, changing it twice a week. Initially, I was placed on a very low dosage of the hormone. Getting the proper dosage level is not an exact science. It is difficult to determine the exact hormonal needs in each person’s body. Even if two people are the same age and weight, their needs are different so therefore what is normal for one person is not for the other.
So, getting individual levels right is a trial-and-error process. Because I had just had surgery and was starting chemotherapy, it was difficult to tell how my body felt on the dosage level that had been prescribed, because nothing about my body felt normal at that time.

A few months into this low dosage of hormones, as I healed, I started to notice my body feeling very weak and lethargic, my mood feeling off, and I was warm all the time. This low dose of hormones was making me feel like a 28-year-old in an 80-year-old body. When I mentioned this to my doctor, they immediately realized that they were treating me like an actual menopausal woman rather than the young woman that I am. My dosage was bumped up and in only a few days I noticed a dramatic difference. My muscles felt stronger, my mood felt more stable, by body temperature felt more comfortable, and I had more energy.

Now my hormones are balanced, and my body is feeling strong. But there are still things that I need to be mindful of in my everyday life, as a result. For example, I need to make sure I am getting enough calcium everyday to keep my bone density healthy. As well I need to be mindful of the fact that my heart health, skin health and brain health could be effected long term, how so exactly, its difficult to know exactly. But these are some things that I need to be aware of moving forward in my life.

Another thing that I deal with on a daily basis is my hormone patch. I need to ensure that it is always safely secured on my skin. The patch is also very irritating to my skin. My back is covered with raw patches of skin left behind from the patches.

Really the only “positive”, from my hysterectomy is that I don’t have to deal with menstruation anymore. Not many women would ever admit that they would miss having their periods, that’s for sure!

Moral of the story, while menopause is a normal process and stage in a woman’s life, it can suck, especially if you experience it years before you should. And for me it is a daily reminder of the things that I have lost as a result of a hysterectomy before 30.

Published by tri_Gill

I am a triathlete navigating being a teacher and cancer apatient and looking to inspire others.

4 thoughts on “Menopause before 30

  1. Hi Gill!! For sure it’s the first time I know that someone totally understands what I went through. Had colon cancer at the age of 26 and also had an histerectomy and early menopause. I guess, by the time, all the concerns were about the desease and the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have a child, so my mind was focused on that. I can’t say I suffered from bad symptoms with the substitution therapy going on. I am now 40 and I have learnt a lot about my body and what amazing capacity it has. It has been a beautiful fight and I am so happy to be here! Thank you for bringing up the subject! Be Brave. 🤍

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  2. Hi Gill. I had a rare form of OC (granulosa cell) and a hysterectomy at the age of 42. Not as young as you but I am also very active and was training for the Chicago marathon when I found out. I can relate to the symptoms – I’ve never had mood issues the way I did before taking the estrogen. I was tired and lethargic and thought I’d wasted all that time exercising for “nothing” Anyway, I just wanted to share that I also get irritation from the adhesive. I use estrogel that you apply topically and it works well for me. I also use premarin 2x per week. Just thought I would share in case you want to consider switching. I’m sorry you had to go under the knife again. I wish you a speedy recovery.

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