By The Time I Reached 35, I was in Perimenopause
By the end of my 20s, my periods were always irregular. They were scanty and painless. I had my children young and considered my family complete. I hadn’t been on contraception for a few years, and so I welcomed these lighter, irregular and painless periods.
My body continued this pattern as my biological clocked ticked. Suddenly I was 35 with roaring hot flashes and irritable mood swings and unsure as to why.
“What did sadden me though, was the likelihood of other women conceiving even if their womanhood had been prematurely shot“
Intrigued and conflicted I booked an appointment with my GP. Mostly because by now it was mid-summer and I was fed up with waking in a pool of sweat and restless sleeps. My GP arranged blood tests to investigate my hormone levels – particularly oestrogen and follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) – both of which require a harmonious relationship for reproduction. I repeated the test a couple of times in following months for better accuracy. Meanwhile I drowned in a sea of bad tempered night sweats.
My results returned indicative of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) – in laments terms, premature menopause. I had a gradual decline in oestrogen and raised FSH levels, so my reproductive system was struggling to keep up. I wasn’t bothered by the findings. At this point, all I cared about was a restful sleep without the sweats.
When to Worry and Where to Seek Help
What did sadden me though, was the likelihood of other women conceiving even if their womanhood had been prematurely shot. It’s fact that POI reduces fertility. With my sister and friends in the forefront of my mind, I booked in with a fertility specialist to learn what options are available to women suffering premature menopause We discussed everything from fertility medication, to anti-mullieran hormone (AMH) testing – a blood test to check your ovarian reserve. It’s non-Medicare but affordable, and indicative of what your egg count looks like. I didn’t bother with this test, because my pregnancy days were over and I was accepting of my diagnosis.
My specialist explained that for women still ovulating, although the diagnosis of perimenopause is bleak, pregnancy is plausible if the body is still ovulating. Freezing eggs is highly recommended, as is the exploration of donor eggs and embryos.
Leaving that consultation solidified a chapter that had closed for me but left me feeling despair for the 30-something-year-old sitting next to me in the waiting room nervously processing the forthcoming conversation.
The female body certainly is a unique vessel.
- If you would like to learn more about perimenopause or are suffering from unexplained infertility, ask your GP for a referral to Dr Stephen Elgey for is expert opinion on infertility and gynaecology. You can call our rooms to make your appointment on 3344 – 1656