This post is in no way to pity me or to scare you but more of my experience with Premature Ovarian Failure and infertility. How and when did I come to know of diagnosis, the signs and symptoms of it? Remember not every case of any disease presents itself ditto as in medical books or medical websites (I know you must have googled many). I being a doctor, myself, not in my deadliest of dreams thought I would have it.
Read this post as an awareness of Premature Ovarian Failure through the mouth of the one living with it. Don’t worry I won’t bombard you with heavy medical lingo but only the chronological series of my signs and symptoms.
Let’s get started! (It is going to be a long read. Grab your tea, coffee or water :D)
Premature Ovarian Failure –
Doesn’t scare you after reading it, right? How about I say Premature menopause or early menopause in your 20s and 30s? Now this sounds scary, isn’t it?
Statistics say Premature Ovarian Failure occurs in 0.1% (1 in a 1000) women between the ages of 15 and 29, and 1% (1 in 100) women between the ages of 30 and 39. (DAMN!!! Why am I the unluckiest ‘1’ in 1000? But I would love to be the ‘1’ to conceive despite this ovaries-eating disease. Oh and btw I am 29 and going to be 30 soon)
Normal. I had my first menses at age of 12 with 4-5 days of bleeding. Normal breast development, appearance of hair besides scalp (its normal location). Menses were regular but always on earlier side on Days 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 but never late.
End of my teens
Till age of 17 everything seemed to be normal. Then I think my master gland (pituitary) decided to live on its own terms without taking me into consideration.
Twice a year my menses shifted from its regularity gradually (REMEMBER- GRADUALLY holds the importance). I shoved it off by saying it might be due to stress of academics. I did underwent screening to rule out PCOS and yes I was elated I did not have it because I was not overweight, I did not have dark pigmentation anywhere. (Lesser I had known I was going to have worse than PCOS)
Did not spare my skin and hair
My skin! Why, Why, WHY? It is already eating up my follicles and above all attacking my skin. Hirsuitism (facial hair growth) even before I touched 20. My parents had spent thousands for my laser treatment for hair removal. I had my blood screened for all the hormones before the treatment. Apart from DHEAS and testosterone, everything was normal (Another proof of NO PCOS). I still have excess hair growth but less worse than before.
Acne! I hate you even now you crop on my face every now and then even The Body Shop products cannot rescue my skin from your peril.
My hair! What can I say, let it be!
Came the age of 25 (when I got married)
MY MENSES WENT BERSERK SO QUICKLY IT FREAKED ME OUT. 3 months no sign of PMS or spotting. I was sure I wasn’t pregnant, nevertheless I took pregnancy test which was negative (I was sure about). End of 3 months, comes the use of sanitary napkins without using any pills. ( I saved many bucks during those 3 months. LOL)
I darted the delay due to post-marriage stress 😛 . On a serious note, my menses were almost regular for 2 years.
Age of 27
Hormones. Checked. Follicular study. Done. Only one follicle enlarged in one ovary and ruptured by 18th day of my cycle (which should have rang the bell of something ‘serious’, but we never anticipate for the worse, do we?) Nah-nah.
Age of 28
BANG! No menses for 5 months. No pregnancy. With WORSE PMS as if now, now the bleeding would start but nothing. My skin became so dull and the unhealthy look made me mad and angry (I didn’t have anyone or anything to blame on) despite of healthy eating habits. Trust me I had cut down junk foods drastically, restricted to once a week.
This time I had to take pills because it was enough.
Recheck of all the hormones. Done. Normal. Again except for FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone).
FSH to Ovaries: “RELEASE THE FOLLICLES, YOU! I AM TRYING SO HARD”
Ovaries: “DO NOT PUSH ME. I AM ALREADY TIRED.”
Uterus: “HELLO, YOU TWO! I AM WAITING SINCE SO LONG TO GROW A TINY HUMAN BEING WITHIN ME. Your fight is doing no good. I weep every month, well, not every month as you do not allow me to even weep.”
Me: “I am tired you guys. I am tired.”
Age of 29
We were labelled with ‘Primary infertility’ (Biggest impact) couples since second year of marriage. We had started planning by the end of first year but never conceived.
Hysterosalpingography. Done. Patent tubes.
Follicular study. 1 follicle. No growth. Ruptured prematurely. No conception (Not a surprise!)
Antral follicle count on Day 3. 2-3 dormant follicles only in one ovary. POOR RESULT.
FSH level. High.
Final test to confirm Premature ovarian failure
AMH (Anti-mullerian hormone). Bull’s eye for my diagnosis. Very very very low count.
Chances of conception with my own (if) remaining eggs – negligible.
Clinical suggestion – IVF with donor eggs.
Me (inside my head): “NO! NO! NO! No, no, no…”
Premature ovarian failure: “You have no other choice.”
Me: “I will never let you take control over my life.”