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chemo induced early menopause?

dawnmpm's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi, my name is Dawn and I am new here. I am 35 and have been battling HD since '95. Have had ABVD, MOPP, ICE, Gemzar, radiation, my own stem cell transplant and most recently a donor BMT. All of the treatments have put me into early menopause. How do you deal with that? Do you have any symptoms? What HRT, if any, should I go on?
Do you go on vitamins, calcium? What do you watch out for? Can it reverse itself?
I am so baffled with this side effect I don't know where to begin. Any suggestions?

wallpa's picture
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2002

I've got NHL and early chemo-induced menopause (I'm 43).

I've decided to ignore it completely. ..which is hard because my bald head gets completely sweaty during my hot flashes. I also have some other problems I'd rather not talk about in a public forum.

I don't really mind early menopause that much because I had AWFUL (heavy and painful) periods. This is like a walk in the park....except for the cancer part, of course....and the chemo wasn't any fun... oh well.
They did say to wait 6 months or so after chemo to see if the machinery started up by itself or not. I don't want to put any more outside elements in my body (ie HRT). I figure it's seen enough in the past year. Of course, I am finished with my childbearing so that is one aspect I don't have to be concerned about. If you still want children, I would talk to the doctor about it.


dpomroy's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Dec 2000

I am 43 and also have Hodgkins. After my ABVD and radiation I was declared officially in menopause. They did the hormone level checks, I went over a year with no periods. I endured all the misery and did nothing about it. I finally tried an over the counter product and it helped a lot! But then....I got my periods back heavier than ever before.

I am now awaiting my auto transplant and am enduring the menopausal symptoms all over again. This time they put me on a low dose birth control pill to stop the periods and reduce the symptoms. It has done the first but I still have horrible hot flashes and other things. I suspect that this last chemo before transplant will do in the periods and the need for the pill. I am going to try the over counter medication again at that time. I'll try vitamin E, soy, whatever it takes! I don't want to be on HRT - it makes me feel like a water buffalo and the recent studies make me very nervous about being on it.
Good luck. Whatever you decide to try, check it out with your docs first though.

lisas's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2000

Hi Dawn - My name is Lisa. I'm 37 and a survivor of thyroid cancer and Hodgkin's. I went into to temporary menopause during chemo (Stanford V) with hot flashes and the works. Afterwards my periods did restart but they were horribly heavy. I went on low dose birth control pills and things have evened out. I also take soy, evening primrose oil capsules, calcuim and vitamin E. I've been tested for early menopause but my hormone levels were fine. The doctors don't seem to have alot of info, but there is such a thing as chemically induced menoupause which happens quite often with female cancer patients. Talk to your oncologist and ob/gyn for help. With all the conflicting info about HRT, you might want to research on your own and then talk to your docs. Take care and hang in there.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2002

Hi! I too have done ABVD and ESHAP w/ auto stem cell. I'm in remission now (knock on wood) and have been menopausal for about 1 1/2 year. I JUST turned 33 and so far I'm doing well. I take HRT but was really reluctant at first. I haven't done as much research as I should, but there is a lot out there now in magazines and journals. Also, a friend suggested I see an endochrinologist to avoid the generic prescription. Now I'm on Activella (estro w/progesterin) lower dose than birth control. I also use vagifem vaginal suppositories for atrophy and dryness and pain (2x per week) So far, no more hot flashes and stripping in public (yay!) and I feel much more "normal" whatever that is. Also, my red blood count is higher than it's ever been. Hope this helps.Good luck!

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2003

I was 16 when I was diagnosed, now 41. I had MOPP and never missed a period. When I turned 31, I started having hot flashes, horrible periods, irregular periods. My GYN said I was too young for it to be menopause but I saw a special on PBS channel about menopause and the female GYN said that HD was one of the leading causes of pauses ( sorry, my attempt at humor. Laughing is easier than crying!) Anyway, I did a few years of birth control pills (helped with periods, but not the hot flashes) and a couple of years of HRT (not much better). All the hype that came out last fall made me nervous so I quit! No more periods, some hot flashes...good thing I didn't plan on mid life babies!

Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2003

I am just getting finished with radiation (only 2 more weeks!) after receiving ABVD for 6 cycles for stage 3b hodgkins. I have been experiencing hot flashes for about 10 weeks (what a pain!) My NP suggested I try black chohosh. I just started several days ago. Has anyone else had experience with this herb? If so, did it work?

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