“Menopause is Menopause no matter how it happens”, I received this as a comment when I first started posting about surgically induced menopause, at first I really got upset, but then I took a deep breath and I realized that this is what I am here for, to educate those who don’t know and who just don’t understand that our bodies are not created equal.
Menopause is a natural process that happens to women that marks the end of their menstrual cycle typically diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual cycle. Typically, this happens in the 40’s and 50’s in the United States that age is around 51.
Perimenopause is the stage before menopause, it is when a woman begins to experience the following (this is not the full list of potential experiences):
· Irregular Periods
· Vaginal Dryness
· Hot Flashes
· Sleep problems
· Weight gain and slowed metabolism
Surgically/Medically Induced Menopause is exactly what it is written. Many women experience menopausal symptoms when prescribed medication(s) used to treat medical conditions such as Endometriosis, Cancer, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or other conditions. Drugs that can do this are Chemotherapy, because it can stop the production of eggs in the ovaries which can induce menopause.
Other medications is the Lupron Depot shot, this medication is often administered to women as a treatment for endometriosis after or before surgical procedures, In recent years a new drug was created Orilissa which is considered the pill form of Lupron. Other medical treatments that can lead to induced menopause included radiation, ovarian suppression therapy. Usually after medication is has run its course women will return back to normal with no menopausal affects however, this also varies from woman to woman if there was no damage to her ovaries or other complications.
When it comes to surgically induced, this is when a medical procedure (surgery) was performed on that affects hormone production such as certain types of hysterectomies specifically an oophorectomy which is the removal of one or both of a woman’s ovaries. When ovaries are removed or damaged a woman will enter menopause.
As you can see women unfortunately don’t always enter menopause naturally which means menopause is not limited to women in their 40’s and 50’s. I believe I was 22 years old when I was given Lupron for the first time and I experienced hot flashes, fast forward to 2014 when I had my Radical Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy at the age of 33. It is important for women to understand that “The Change” is not that for women like myself, unfortunately there are young women in their 20’s who had to have various types of hysterectomies which includes the removal of the ovaries that will lead to menopause.
Surgical menopause is immediate, and in my opinion is worse than the “The Change”. Not to downplay what any woman feels during her change in life, when one or both of a woman’s ovaries are removed her body is not producing the number of hormones it needs to function “normal”, hormones regulate sleep, body temperature, weight, thyroid, emotions, brain function and so much more. Women experiencing surgical menopause can be emotionally traumatizing for women because a apart of the womanhood had been removed, and for the woman who is in her childbearing years, but cannot have children or extend her family due to her hysterectomy.
To not make this post any longer than it needs to be. Surgical menopause is overall a circumstance in a woman’s life that may or may not have been her choice. If you are a woman who is experiencing “The Change” or Surgical Menopause, we all have to stick together because the fact is we all are experiencing a new body, and new way of life that we are learning and navigating on Hot Flash (Flush) at a time.
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