Support, advice and information
A premature menopause can be brought on by many different cancer treatments - chemotherapy, radiotherapy to the pelvis, surgical removal of the ovaries and/or drug treatments to treat some hormonally driven breast cancers.
If the menopause is induced quickly in these ways, the symptoms can be more intense.
As everyone has different diagnoses and treatments, this is just a basic guide to some of the symptoms you may experience but you should speak to your medical/ nursing team if you have any worries or questions.
You may be worried about loss of fertility, which may be temporary or permanent. This is something that you should discuss with your team looking after you.
There are many symptoms related to the menopause, but it is important to remember that you may suffer hardly any, or you may have a combination of these. These are some of the most common reported symptoms.
For many of these symptoms there may be things you can do or medications you can take to help. You must however check with your medical team and they will be able to advise you.
Hot Flushes/ night sweats.
Insomnia/ disrupted sleep pattern.
Weight Gain-especially around the waist area.
Changes to skin and hair.
Muscle and joint pain.
Lower sex drive.
Poor concentration/memory loss.
Fatigue/ low energy levels.
Mood swings/becoming irritable more easily.
Reduced self esteem.
Urinary – bladder changes/infections.
Vaginal dryness/pain during sex.
Hot Flushes and night sweats
Many people think that this means you just get hot and sweaty. This can vary from just occasionally feeling a bit warm through to having to get up several times a night to change clothing/ bedding or even showering. This is turn can lead to disturbed sleep patterns and therefore tiredness and irritability can become a problem.
Many women experience a heat within the core of their body which starts to spread within them. Flushes can be a very strange experience and for some quite distressing. It can lead to reddening of the face and sweating profusely. One minute you’re red hot, then cold. If this happens in public or at work it can be embarrassing if people comment or joke about it, mainly because they don’t fully understand.
What can we do?
Simple things like layering clothes, wearing natural breathable materials, natural bedding materials.
Carrying a little spray bottle around with you with cool water or something like peppermint essence mixture to help make you feel more comfortable. Keep a spray at the side of the bed. Carry a mini fan around with you.
Keep a diary and see if there is a pattern or a trigger for your hot flushes. Food can be a trigger as can alcohol and caffeine.