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Is this Menopause? And what do I do?
TheBoopsterBaker posted:
As silly as that title may sound... its a very serious issue! I am 34 years old and I believe this is menopause for me! History: I had an emergency hystorectomy when I was 24. My uterus and one ovary was removed. I am not, and can not be placed on hormone replacements. 2 reasons: my family line has breast cancer very thick on both sides - and I also have no health insurance. So therefore, can not even see a doctor to help me.... and I am MISERABLE!!! To the point where I don't even feel like a woman anymore. Here is my admission (someone show my poor husband, lol) I AM SO MOODY, I suffer from (what I believe) hot flashes - mostly at night, headaches, lack of interest in sex, severe weight gain ... just to name a few. Is this normal for someone in my condition? What can I do? Any natural supplements? Home rememdies? Or help on how I can get help health-insurance wise? All suggestions/ideas are appreciated.
Anon_6061 responded:
It's not silly at all! And yes, you're right, early menopause or the loss of ovarian function is a serious issue, both from a quality of life standpoint as well as overall health.

The loss of ovaries or ovarian function increases risk for many health problems as borne out by studies. The ovaries are part of the endocrine system and the hormones they produce (estrogen being one) are essential to every organ and tissue in our bodies - heart / vascular system, brain (cognition, memory, mood, neurological), muscles, eyes, bladder, bowels, skin, hair, genital tissues, etc.

There seems to be an unwarranted fear of estrogen causing breast cancer as the studies have been mixed on this. For women who take combined HRT (estrogen PLUS progestin), there is a slightly increased risk of BC. But, again, studies with estrogen (without progestin) have been mixed. According to the North American Menopause Society's (NAMS) 2012 position statement, estrogen only therapy is considered quite safe. Here's a link to that - The estrogen-only part starts on page 4.

Something else to consider. If you still had all your sex organs, you likely wouldn't go into menopause until about age 51 and your ovaries would produce some level of hormones into your 80's which are essential to maintaining health. So if you still had your organs, you'd still be producing your own hormones (estrogen included). So it would seem reasonable to take some estrogen to reduce the risk of all these other health problems as well as improve your quality of life. But that's my take on it. Of course, you have to do what's comfortable for you.

And if you choose an over-the-counter menopause supplement, some of those have estrogenic effects. If you decide to take estrogen, the generic Estrace tablet is cheap - just $4 for a 30 day supply ($10 for 90 days). As far as not having insurance, many cities have clinics where you can pay on a sliding scale. Planned Parenthood may be an option too.

I had a hysterectomy and take estrogen. I personally couldn't function and didn't want to live when I wasn't getting enough estrogen early post-op. I'm still not who I was before my hysterectomy but I'm no longer suicidal, irritable, overwhelmed by any and everything, anxious, sleep deprived, feeling and acting like an 80 year-old, etc.!! Now if I could just have my youthful looks restored....

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For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website