Menopause at 34

No one likes to talk about menopause.  My dad still refers to it as “women’s problems.”  But the reality is, when you are 34 and in the “early stages” it’s something that you have to talk about… a lot.  Earlier this year, I was having trouble with hot flashes and night sweats, but they went away.

I pushed my “early stages of menopause” out of my mind.  There weren’t any real symptoms to speak of, so it wasn’t an issue.  But there were and I just didn’t know it.

I suffer from chronic fatigue.  This is due, in large part, to the chronic migraines.  It’s been a lot worse though since August.  I can stay up late, but I can’t get the work done that I used.  Napping is almost a daily ritual and when I don’t get it, I’m cranky… Like a two year old missing a nap.  My headaches increased in both frequency and duration.  They stopped responding to treatment.  I chalked both up to an increase in migraine activity.  Not something that would actually be a surprise.

Most days, my body hurts.  Arms, legs, back, shoulders, and muscles I didn’t even know existed ache, stretching helps, but not like it used to.  My arthritis seems to be worse this year as well.

My anxiety levels increased.  Of course, I had a stressful year.  Both my father and my SO’s father both faced serious illnesses.  Several times, they talked about chopping off bits of my father for different reasons.  Worse, he’s diabetic and once they start removing parts, they usually continue to remove parts.  Twice we made arrangements for me to pick him up after the chopping incidents and were saved from the gruesome fate at the last minute.  And I learned the truth about my dental problems, something that was rather unexpected… I didn’t expect they would have to remove bits of my jawbone just to pull a tooth or two.  (Next oral surgery scheduled for 29 January… so much fun)

However, in November, I started dealing with a migraine like no other.  It isn’t responsive to treatment.  It makes my brain feel like it’s working at 1/4 normal capacity.  It makes me tired.  It seemed to have multiple causes; the muscle in my back, the Depo-Provera shot, sinuses, a few bad teeth, etc.

Friday, I had to have my annual exam done.  They did a hormone panel, because I am in the “early stages of menopause.”  Only, I’m not.  I’m actually in menopause; full blown, bring on the suffering, menopause.  All these symptoms that I’ve been experiencing and thought were other things is my estrogen level.  I officially produce less estrogen than an eggplant.  I didn’t even know that was possible!

I’ve been told that women with PCOS are more likely to experience premature menopause.  But no where; not in health class, not in anatomy class, not in human biology, no doctors or gynecologists, not even a family friend has ever mentioned that estrogen production can rapidly drop to almost zero.  Nor did they mention that symptoms for almost zero estrogen production would not be what we associate with normal menopausal symptoms.  Why on earth didn’t someone say “hey, it could feel like you’ve been beaten up all the time, your head will feel like it is going to explode often, your brain will turn to mush, expect to want to sleep thirty hours a day, and your anxiety will skyrocket.”  Or what about telling me that my toenails might become thick and brittle but not have a fungal infection…

Now for the hard decisions; do I switch to a different birth control?  Depo provera inhibits estrogen production and obviously, I’m not producing nearly enough anyway.  Birth control pills have stopped working.  I keep reading about Mirena, but it says it can cause ovarian cysts and I have those without assistance from birth control.  Do I do Hormone Replacement Therapy?  I’m a good candidate for it, no history of breast cancer and I’m not genetically predisposed to it… But I smoke.  I will definitely have to stop that if I’m going to do HRT and so far, my quitting has failed miserably.

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  1. T.Vogt

     /  January 12, 2015

    That is a choice you have to make.. I had a Depo provera shot in my early 30’s and didn’t have another period for over two years.. I think they should place a warning on those injections that they could cause menopause !! I was fully menopausal by 36 and nothing but unaffordable extreme measures would ever allow me to become pregnant again.. You need to consider if you ever want a child to do something soon, if not then hormonal therapy is something that may help keep bones and other issues stable.. just remember some of those hormones are horse piss literally, one reason I never did the replacement treatments.. yes I am now having issues, but then again I never planned on living forever.. I have seen too much and been thru enough that I’ll go when called without intervention..


    • I have known since I was 5 years old that I didn’t want children. I started birth control pills at 10 years old because I had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have been on Depo Provera for three years now and only had one ovarian cyst, it is the best rate I’ve managed to achieve.

      Menopause is new for me. When I first got the news, I thought “great, I’ll be in and out with no problems.” Now, it appears that it is going to be more complicated than that and I have a lot to learn about how badly it could get and what I should do to treat it.


  2. I just went full meno myself and I’m not a candidate for HRT because I am a Type 2 diabetic…so far…I’m just making it without too many issues – I don’t really know what to tell you – I’ve heard both the pros and cons of HRT but somethings got to give for you so get as many medical opinions as you feel you need!



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