Woman With Endometriosis Put Into Early Menopause Aged 19
A woman who suffered excruciating pain as a result of endometriosis was put into early artificial menopause at the age of 19.
Endometriosis is the name given to a condition in which cells similar to the ones in the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body.
Just like a menstrual cycle, these cells build up and break down every month - but unlike the cells in the lining of our uterus which leave the body, the blood in other areas has nowhere to go - leading to inflammation and in many cases, excruciating pain. It's currently thought to affect around 1.5 million women in Britain.
At the age of 19, Kia - a student nurse - decided to take a course of Zoladex, an artificial hormone which induces menopause.
Since taking the medication, Kia has seen some pain relief, but now suffers with hot sweats, dizziness and headaches - symptoms commonly associated with menopause. Kia has even had hormone replacement therapy to help alleviate some of the side effects.
Inducing early menopause means Kia has to consider her fertility options and consider the fact that she may not be able to have children. One of the reasons for this is that Kia's ovaries could struggle to re-stimulate if she is in chemical menopause for too long.
The medication reduces the growth of endometriosis by stopping menstruation and thus, the production of oestrogen, which aggravates the condition.
Kia is now looking into freezing her eggs - an option only available to cancer patients on the NHS.
In the UK, egg freezing costs between £3,500 and £4,500 for one cycle of treatment as well as an annual fee from £200 to £360 to store the eggs.
"Suffering with endometriosis is a continual struggle," said Kia.
"You feel embarrassed the condition is to do with your periods, then you have to be believed and then you have to be diagnosed.
"To top all this off, the condition and treatment means you may not be able to have children. It is odd to be thinking of children when it is something that I'd think about so far in the future.
"So then to be told I have to raise £5,000 for this is awful. Nothing about having endometriosis is win-win.
"It would be good if, somewhere along the way, this condition would be considered sensitively."
Kia first started having health problems at the age of 14 - even before her periods started.
She started suffering with abdominal pain, nausea, bowel problems and low blood pressure. When her periods did start, she began fainting due to heavy bleeding.
Over time, Kia has been diagnosed with food poisoning, allergies and irritable bowel syndrome but explained she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis after undergoing a laparoscopy (an exploratory operation of her abdomen).
"There are many misdiagnoses, so I felt a sigh of relief that my illness finally had a name," said Kia.
"But there is no cure. Coming to terms with my reproductive organs and fertility being compromised has been overwhelming and devastating.
"What would be better would be to make this treatment free for endometriosis sufferers on the NHS, but that would be too late for me."
Fearing how the induced menopause could affect her ovaries, Kia has decided to have surgery and the hormone releasing coil fitted, so she can freeze her eggs.
Her mum, Fay Morne, has set up a Go Fund Me page and is running the London Marathon in April and the Fylde Cost Tri-olgy triathlon series (in April, May and September), to help raise the funds.
To help Kia, you can donate here.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS