Some cancer treatments can cause early menopause as a side effect. This is called ‘treatment-induced menopause’. In this case, menopause may be temporary or permanent. It depends on the type of cancer treatment you had, and other factors.
Some common symptoms of menopause;
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Problems sleeping, such as not being able to fall asleep
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness or vaginal itching
- Some loss of bladder control
- More frequent bladder infections
- Mood swings or getting easily irritated
- Problems with memory and concentration
You may have all of these symptoms or only a few. Every woman is different.
Some surgeries to treat endometrial cancer can cause early menopause in pre-menopausal women. When menopause starts, estrogen levels start to decrease and vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy (shrinkage) may occur.
Some types of chemotherapy may also cause a sudden loss of estrogen production from the ovaries. The loss of estrogen can cause:
- Shrinking, thinning, and loss of elasticity of the vagina
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Urinary tract infections
- Mood swings
What you can do
Speak to your oncologist or nurse at your follow-up appointments or call if your appointment is too far away. You can also speak to your family doctor.
For specific help managing menopause symptoms, read "Managing your Symptoms of Menopause after Cancer Treatment" [PDF, opens in new window] »