Menopause in your mid-20’s? Don’t think that’s possible? Well, neither did I … until I faced the results of a faulty tubal ligation device, which the name of (just like Lord Voldemort’s) is not uttered in our home. The only way to remove the devil coils from my fallopian tubes was to take out all my womanhood, from the tubes down. Yup, that’s my fallopian tubes, my uterus, and my cervix out the door. Bye, bye.
With the pain and blood clots I was experiencing, early menopause was the least of my concerns. Still, my doctor claimed that leaving my ovaries would allow my body to continue producing hormones. Wrong! Where’s the game show buzzer sound when you need it, am I right? What he didn’t know was that new studies at the time were showing higher instances of peri and total menopause within the first five years! Even for those women with ovaries left after their hysterectomies! Many women face other health issues that can lead to early menopause in a variety of ways, so it’s important to understand the signs and treatment options.
Symptoms and Effects of Early Menopause
Fast-forward to a year after my surgery. The blessing in all of this was I had no more periods to worry with. Sex whenever I want without worrying about bloodying the sheets? Sign me up! If you think this sounds great, think again. I soon wanted nothing to do with sex at all. My libido was all but extinct. I was experiencing random hot flashes. My hair fell out in clumps from my head and started growing on my chin. I faced vaginal dryness and had trouble sleeping. My weight imploded and my moods raged. I was experiencing menopause symptoms, and while they were affecting everyone around me, they impacted my relationship with my partner the most.
If you’re going through early menopause, you might experience:
- Aches and pains
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Cold chills
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Night Sweats
- Urinary problems
- Sleep deprivation
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal infections
- Weight gain or loss
Tips for Dealing with Early Menopause
If you’re experiencing early menopause symptoms, there are several things you can do to tackle the problems you may be facing. I’ve covered 4 things I found the most valuable that might help you too.
Consult with a Professional
For me, I really didn’t want anything to do with doctors after all I’d been through. But looking back, I wish I’d consulted with someone about checking my hormone levels sooner to see what could have been done relating to my early menopause.
It’s imperative to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are due to early menopause and not another underlying illness. Once you have confirmed your suspicions, you can work on a treatment plan. Oftentimes, there are medication and supplements that can help you replace your hormones or reduce the effects from the symptoms.
Talk to Your Partner
For a while, I wanted nothing to do with sex. The thought of being touched while I was having hot flashes was not exactly thrilling. I was also not feeling very sexy due to the changes in my appearance. Having to shave my face and finding clothes that disguised my weight gain didn’t scream sexy to me. It took a while, but eventually I began to embrace the new me. I was lucky to have an understanding spouse who was willing to try new things and support me as I went through the rollercoaster early menopause can be.
If you’re struggling with plummeting libido, you’re not alone. Leaving your partner out in the cold about why you might be avoiding sex, might give them some mixed signals. It’s good to have their support while you’re navigating these new waters, so you can work together to find exciting ways to be intimate again. It might be that spicing up your sex life with some new sex toys for couples or watching some adult entertainment together might just do the trick. While it’s not the case for everyone, sometimes lack of libido won’t matter once you get going. Either way, always remember to respect what your body is saying.
Treating Vaginal Dryness from Early Menopause
Vaginal dryness is a topic that no one seems to want to talk about, but I’ll dish out all I’ve got. It can be an embarrassing subject, but even women who aren’t going through early menopause can face this problem. We really need to talk about this more, so women know what options they have.
Not having the proper level of (I know many who dislike this word but…) moisture can lead to painful sex and even torn skin. Luckily combatting this common menopause issue is easy, thanks to personal lubes and lotions. Some lubes have extra benefits, like arousal properties that include warming, cooling, or tingling sensations. Other things you can do to improve your vaginal dryness are drinking plenty of water or consider a medicinal treatment: vaginal estrogen creams, tablets, suppositories, or rings or a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) oral medication.
Don’t Ignore Your Body
Another issue I experienced that is much less common was a change in my vaginal pH level. I can hear you asking, “How did you know that?” Well, I knew I was experiencing vaginal dryness already, but I also noticed a change in smell. It wasn’t a bad odor, just stronger than my normal smell with a little less sweetness. This occurred because I had lower levels of estrogen.
When your pH is out of balance, it can lead to infection. Don’t let this go unchecked. A natural way to combat out of sync pH levels is to get yourself on a good regimen of supplements and watch what you eat. Probiotics can help keep your body from becoming too alkaline. In addition, you can eat yogurt that contains natural probiotics. Avoid eating grains, sugars, and processed foods. Fight the urge to use any kind of cleansing products that contain harsh chemicals. If all else fails, talk to your OBGYN.
Know That You Are Not Alone
Remember that you’re not alone in your early menopause. While most women reach early menopause due to health reasons, many also experience this due to genetics or other environmental factors. According to Womenshealth.gov, it is estimated that around 5% of women will experience early menopause. That means many women are going through similar experiences encountering the same symptoms right now. Find someone you can talk to, whether this person be your partner, a trusted friend, or a reliable medical professional.