Early Menopause | VIDEO

Let me start by saying…I’m not a doctor.
I’m not a nurse.
I’m not a healthcare professional.

I’m a ‘digital influencer.’
So…if you want expert information, I suggest hopping over to WebMD.

…You’re still here???

Okay, well, let’s do this then… let’s talk about the BIG M.

MENOPAUSE.

What the hell is it??

Well, my rudimentary understanding before doing some more formal digging was the following:

1) You get cranky
2) You stop getting your period
3) You get hot flashes a lot
4) You can’t make babies

Which is essentially ALL true, but for those who are interested, here is the text book definition:

men·o·pause
ˈmenəˌpôz/

noun

~the ceasing of menstruation.
the period in a woman’s life (typically between 45 and 50 years of age) when this occurs.

 

Why am I bringing it up?

Well, a recent doctor’s visit and a blood test revealed that I am post-menopausal at 42.
You can watch the video above to hear more about my early menopause story.

 

How do you know you are menopausal?

You need to have your FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone level checked.
According to my doctor, if your FSH level is higher than 24, and you haven’t had your period in a while (12 months) you are menopausal.
See my chart below based on information I was given by my doctor.
FSH levels and menopause, peri-menopause, chart by Erin Busbee BusbeeStyle
You can have elevated FSH levels… and still get periods.
In order to be post-menopausal, according to my doctor, your levels are high AND you stopped menstruating for 12 months.

 

What are the Symptoms?

These symptoms come straight from WebMD
Cause remember…I’m not a doctor.

-Irregular or missed periods
-Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual
Hot flashes (a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the upper body)
Vaginal dryness (the vagina may also become thinner and less flexible)
Bladder irritability and worsening of loss of bladder control (incontinence)
-Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings, mild depression)
Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
Sleeplessness
Decreased sex drive

Sounds pretty awesome, right???
Not really!!!

As if getting older isn’t hard enough, let’s add a whole fun bag of horrible symptoms to the mix!

 

Is there anything you can do to treat it?

HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy is the best way to treat the symptoms of menopause.
I’m taking progesterone and estrogen.
I also have an estrogen cream for dryness.

HRT is quite controversial. Studies have shown a link between estrogen and cancer.
You can check out the pros and cons of HRT here.

I also uncovered this gem from JAMA Cardiology about early menopause…that it is linked to heart disease.

I really enjoyed reading this article about how you can make it a positive experience.

 

Why do some people go through menopause early?

For a variety of reasons…. hysterectomy, cancer, radiation, chemo, stress, genetics.

I think in my case, early menopause is the result of genetics.
Or as my husband sweetly joked… “You have NEVER been average.” 

This is an incredibly personal post and video.
I felt compelled to share this with you all so that you have the pertinent and hopefully helpful information.
And, perhaps a community resource.  I  hope you will all continue this discussion among each other…
so menopause is no longer some hidden secret…barely discussed.
But, rather… a celebration of the next chapter of our lives.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 
Don’t forget to subscribe to my exclusive newsletter.
Thank you SO much for stopping by!

  ERIN BUSBEE, BUSBEESTYLE.COM

*I use affiliate links which help me generate revenue to support my time and business.
My mission is to make style simple… for busy women like you!
Thank you so much for your help with my mission.

 

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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. Hi Erin. Thanks for sharing your story, I, too, am 42, soon to be 43 this month. I am in menopause and have taking estrogen and progesterone for a few years now. I just visited a bioidentical hormone doctor and am currently waiting for results to come back from a urine sample and swab sample that was recommended to me. The test is a complete hormone test by Genova Diagnostics. Basically, it checks hormones and DNA and matches your body to the right HRT for your body. They will then create a compound vs synthetic HRT that is right for my body. Have you heard about Bioidentical HRT?

    -Wendy Knudson
    [email protected]

  2. The same thing happened to me. I was 43 and was gaining weight quickly and not sleeping very well. I went to my OB and she told me I was much too young to be in menapause but I asked for blood work anyways. Yep. FSH was way above 24. I am on progesterone and continue to be on birth control for estrogen. I am very confused about bio-identical hormones versus no hormones versus other hormones! There seems to be lots of controversy about it. There will come a time when they have to take us off progesterone and estrogen because of links to cancer. That is when it will totally suck!

  3. Erin, thanks so much for posting about this. I am going through this right now. I had the big estrogen spike and drop and now need to take the next step with regard to blood work. As this started coming up, I mentioned it to my mom and she told me she went through pre-menopause and had to go through estrogen therapy. So eye opening. I’ve had the Mirena for over 11 years since my youngest was born with no periods. And now I’m on estrogen. So we will see. Thank you again for sharing and being so transparent and vulnerable. We need this! xoxo

  4. It does make you wonder , “now what?” I am 52 and at this point my period shows up every 5 months. I just want it to be done; however my mom was 53 or 54 when she went to the other side , lol. Thanks mom.

  5. Hi Erin,
    I just wanted to say hi, and thank you for your post. I was diagnosed with late stage triple negative breast cancer at age 34 and was forced into (temporary) menopause as a result of it (one of the many lovely side effects of chemo). At that time, I was very emotional, moody, having night sweats/hot flashes, and had extreme vaginal/bladder irritation. While these are all symptoms of menopause, they also all happen to be symptoms of chemo/cancer, so I didn’t really know what to blame on what! I just knew I felt like crap. I remember the day my oncologist sat my hubby & I down to go over my treatment plan, and have the “family talk”. (meaning, I hope you’ve already accomplished that!) I remember feeling both blessed (for having already had my then almost 5-yr old son), & also SO sad that I was about to enter into menopause at age 34 and, as you touched on, that would be the beginning of the end of procreation for me. Now, my hubby is about 6 yrs older & I also have a 23 yr-old stepson, so it’s not like more kids were in my cards anyhow. However, this was a very emotional discussion/experience nonetheless. I’m happy to report being 39 and two months shy of 5-yrs remission now (well, not so happy about the 39 part LOL). My son is now 9, and while my periods did eventually return over the past few years, we ultimately decided against anymore kids. I’ll be 40 at the end of the year, and dread having to go through menopause a second time, which I fear is near (my mom went through it in her early 40’s like you). I know what to expect now, but it barely lessens the blow. I think you’re right; it’s not a heavily touched on topic and it does take an emotional/physical toll (especially at a young age for those who may still be family planning). I always imagined it was something that happened closer to 50 as well. Anyhow, I really enjoy your blog & all of your videos, and have been following you for some time. Sorry for babbling so much. I just wanted to say I can relate to how you’re feeling from an age perspective, being young & having to deal w/it. Regardless of what age, or whether it happens naturally or is induced by other uncontrollable factors, it’s just another life experience we ladies have to take on and conquer! Take care and hang in there. Marissa

  6. I went through early menopause at 45 years old………my mother was post – menopause by 45 too. Family history gives us important clues. I started taking thyroid medicine at 42 for hypothyroidism (runs in the family) and it’s made a huge difference in my energy.
    With all this said, there is so much for us now.: bioidentical homones , estrogen creams (I use estrace) and more.
    Thanks again for putting yourself out there! You are helping so many of us! You are brave and will be rewarded with an open exchange with other women that will help all of us.
    By the way, I’m now 64 years old…….life is Great!!!

  7. I went thru early menopause as well. Started when I was 42. Took many many pregnancy tests as I had no idea of early menopause. I have to tell you honestly when I found out I was in early menopause I was surprised but also soooooo happy! I actually never knew you could go thru it that early. Anyway, I had already had my son, did not want anymore children and I never believed that my sole purpose in life was that I was only created to bare children. There was a lot more too me than that. So not being able to have any more children and not having to use birth control was a blessing to me.
    I did find out my Aunt also went thru early menopause.. but after I had mentioned I was going thru it… oh well better late than never I guess lol
    I also wanted to say that I did not take HRT because there was a history of breast cancer in my family and I did not want to take that chance. I was fortunate as I barely had hot flashes, I did have some mood swings but nothing that was unmanageable — I think because not getting my period anymore and not being able to have babies anymore did not make me feel like an old lady…. I was pretty ok with the whole process. It’s really not that bad ….. focus on the good. You still look and feel young so stay that course and don’t stick to worn out ideas of menopause…being the downside of us being women….. this is 2017….. its ok! xoxo

  8. Hi Erin, thanks for sharing. I am 50 and have not tested my FSH levels but am pretty sure that I am “Post” as well. I have some of the same conflicting feelings about it as you do…Part of me doesn’t feel as feminine as I once did. It’s strange to be rid of periods (yay!) but at the same time miss them in the sense of what you mentioned- biological purpose etc. That being said, I read a book by Dr. Christiane Northrup, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, which helped me to understand that our purpose is not “gone” now or Failed, but has changed and now is actually very powerful. She definitely explains it better than I but basically it’s that our “energy” which once was used predominately for ovulating, is ow more available for “wisdom”. I know this will sound all new-age which is not really me but this just makes sense and has helped me to be okay with it. We are now able to be a source of calmness and wisdom that we can not only pass on to younger women but we can also use this new energy for different pursuits. Anyway, I know it sounds like mumbo jumbo but Dr. Northrup truly explains it in a way that caused me to embrace this change instead of the opposite.

    Thanks again for sharing;; I so enjoy all your posts and videos!
    -Susan

  9. Bless you, Erin. Thank you for talking about life with us…because EVERY woman will go thru this sooner or later. I had an almost total hysterectomy last May, but my ovaries are left. My mom and sister had LATE menopause experiences , and I think my girls are not done yet, altho they contribute nothing at all at this point. Truth is, you are specially made by God to be on this earth…there is no one like you and you have many beautiful, importatnt purposes! It is a weird feeling being ‘done’. I understand that feeling about that season of life being over, and I do think most of us have something of a grieving period. It’s great you can talk about it, and healthy, too. Bless you, and may God give you peace and comfort!

  10. Hi Erin.. I had triple negative breast cancer in my late 40’s. The chemo put me into a chemically induced menopause.. WOW! Within 2 weeks my hair was falling out and my period that month was spotty and my last. The hot flashes came with a vengeance… have NO idea why the term is “flashes”. .. they lasted minutes and left me vomiting and feeling like I was going to pass out. Over time… going on 12 years they have subsided, but still come. I explored HRT’s, but with a history of breast cancer my options are limited. Premarin and Prempro are chemical.. they are made of pregnant mare urine, due to the high estrogen. I refuse to take it .. research what they do to the mares.. I can’t be contributing to that, nor do I believe these are safe. However, it is a personal decision for each woman. Bio-identical HRT’s are another route I am, once again exploring. It’s not a one size fits all, not FDA approved.. but there are numerous medications on the market that have been approved, only to be taken off later due to not being safe. Anyway, the bio-identical HRT’s are plant based. You have your hormone levels checked, the HRT ‘S are made for what you need by a compounding pharmacist. Then adjusted to YOU as your hormone levels fluctuate. The molecular construction of them is the big difference…
    I had mixed emotional feelings too.. .. feeling “young” at one point and within days thinking because I was now labeled as “menopausal” I had been thrown into the “old lady” club. But, hey, life goes on and it truly is a frame of mind. After the initial, shock you will return to you.. coz your personality, interests, opinions, friends, family, beliefs… everything’ that makes you is still the same… We don’t get our period any longer… YAY! True, but we get other annoyances.. vaginal dryness, dryer skin… blah blah blah.. just trade problems… what else is new.. .no part of. life stays the same..
    I always look forward to your blogs and videos.. you are my favorite blogger. You do an amazing job of including something for every age , budget and body type . You let people know your life isn’t lived on “fantasy island” any more than the rest of us… .. I love that you are a real person . Keep breathing… don’t forget to exhale.. ..
    HUGZZ

  11. Just when we have it all figured out everything changes! You will learn a whole new way to dress, eat, exercise. It’s not for the weak. All your information is on point.

  12. I’ve just read your post, and will go to the video next. You are doing such important things. You share of yourself and your expereices to help others. You are genuine and real. You work hard for yourself, family, and women. Thank you, Erin.

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