For most women, menopause marks an important change in stage of life. Â It is defined as the cessation of menstruation and thus fertility.
Typically occurring during a womanâ€™s late 40s or early 50s, menopausal women have probably already had their own children and may be expecting grandchildren soon.
However, if menopause hits early, it can wreak havoc on a womanâ€™s plans.
Jackie Townsend hit menopause at age 23, the consequence of a battle with colon cancer. Â She hadnâ€™t taken steps to preserve her fertility as her physician had told her that the chemo she received would preserve her fertility.
Shortly after, her periods stopped and she was faced with a new future: the inability to have children at such a young age.
Aside from the emotional damage early menopause can cause in a young woman, physiological changes such as gaining weight and getting more wrinkles makes it hard to overlook the process.
Now 45 years old, Jackie has been taking Prempro, an estrogen and medroxyprogesterone tablet, for 20 years to help deal with the symptoms of menopause.
Sheâ€™s married now and she and her husband have decided not to have children via surrogacy or adoption. Â Rather, they enjoy their roles as aunt and uncle to 7 nieces and nephews.
Read more about Jackieâ€™s story here.