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    Surgical Menopause
    blackroses posted:
    Because of an Ovarian Cancer diagnosis last August 2012, the first step of treatment was a radical abdominal hysterectomy. Since then, I was instantly thrust into full on menopause at the age of 37. It's been very difficult for me to exist like this. I'll explain.

    While I am in remission, I find it impossible to lose weight or keep weight from piling on. All my muscles and joints are in constant agony that only Rx Strength Ibuprofen has any effect on, my moods are all over the board, I cry for no reason, and I am really struggling with my identity as a woman in the wake of treatment. I was prescribed low dose estrogen that is doing more harm than good (it can cause Ovarian, Cervical and Breast Cancer with prolonged use). So I don't take it, why feed the beast? My Gynecologic Oncologist said all my symptoms are directly related to ZERO estrogen in my 'young body'. I currently feel like a 90 year old woman.

    Has anyone else had to face these issues? How did you deal with them? I have grown 5 dress sizes since last year, and that is with a healthier diet, less sugar, etc. Perhaps it is the pain I'm in, but I am sure that is weight related as well. Any advice would be gold to me, thank you in advance.
    Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
    Dear Blackroses,
    Sorry to hear about what you've been through; but as long as your oncologist is OK with you doing estrogen, I'd certainly consider it (the significant majority of women who have had ovarian cancer CAN take estrogen; only for a few types of cancers would it be considered a contraindication.) For most women under 50, the health benefits of estrogen therapy far outweigh any potential risks (for heart, brain and bone health particularly)-the WHI study showed that even in women who were 63 years of age on average starting their estrogen therapy, for the women who took estrogen alone (who had had a hysterectomy) there was no increased risk of breast cancer for the seven years of the study; and then they stopped the study. You can read more at the website of the North American Menopause Society. You can use bioidentical estrogens if you wish; all patches and gels made in this country are plant derived, and bioidentical.
    So please do speak with your gyn oncologist-and don't be afraid of the estrogens.
    Good luck,
    Mary Jane
    Anon_6061 responded:
    I understand how you feel! I'm in the same boat except I did not have ovarian cancer (had a benign ovarian cyst) but all my organs were removed anyway.

    I do know women who have had gynecologic cancers who do take estrogen. I'm not sure I'd want to live without estrogen and may not have survived the suicidal depression brought on by the hysterectomy if it were not for taking estrogen. The ovaries of women in natural menopause produce hormones (primarily testosterone) into their 80's so I plan to continue taking estrogen for many years. I only wish there was some form of testosterone that worked like ovaries. I sure could use the muscle mass, energy, libido, more moisture in my skin and hair, etc.!!! For now, I have to settle for estrogen which is WAY better than no hormones.

    Do your reasearch and then weigh the pros and cons. Don't sell yourself short on quality of life.

    Featuring Experts

    Mary Jane Minkin, MD, is a nationally recognized obstetrician gynecologist, with a special interest in menopause. Dr. Minkin is clinical professor of ...More

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    For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website