I began suffering with Crohn’s Disease in my late twenties and quickly realized that I was always significantly sicker one week a month when I got my period. When I was pregnant, I was hospitalized because the Crohn’s symptoms were so severe. It was obvious that any hormonal change caused an increase in my gastrointestinal symptoms in spite of medicinal and dietary intervention.
For years doctors predicted that “menopause is going to be your best friend” and although I had to wait a couple of decades I am happy to announce that they were right!
As soon as I stopped having periods, I stopped getting as sick every month. Although I still had some symptoms and occasional flares, they were less often and less severe. I was no longer guaranteed five days of incapacitation a month! There is “however” to this story however….pun intended. Although my Crohn’s symptoms abated, menopause proved difficult in other ways and I had to decide whether or not to start hormones, and risk their return. I am happy to report that I have been able to start low dose estrogen and progesterone which have helped with hot flashes, etc… but have NOT triggered the return of my Crohn's.
But menopause has not been a miracle.
I remain on medication, a vegetarian diet, and still experience an occasional flare but it is nothing compared to guaranteed illness every thirty days. I hesitated to write this, due to the personal nature of the topic, but hope that it serves as hope…pun intended, for young women who suffer with flares during their periods. Hang in there; menopause may be your best friend too.
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