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Chemo induced menopause

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2004

Has anyone experienced a return of ovarian function after having chemo induce menopause? I am 40 yrs old - stopped getting my period for 14 months, them seemed to get it every three months or so. Now I am getting a period every 3 weeks, with unbelievable pain and cramping. I am considering a hysterectomy or ovarian ablation to stop all this. I have had continual cramping for almost three months, and fairly constant stabbing pain. Has anyone experienced this? If so, did it stop on its own, or did something need to be done?

Posts: 79
Joined: Oct 2003

Hi Lynn, I haven`t had my period come back and it has been 6 months now since I had one. I think it probally won`t come back but at times my ovaries have pain in them but very slight pain and my lower back tries to hurt like I am going to start my period. I think I would ask the dr about terrible cramping . I was told that my period could or could not come back. In a way it is like your body is trying to regulate itself back into what used to be like. Still I would ask the dr.......Shirl

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2004

Thanks for your input - I have an appointment with my docs at Sloan Kettering 6/10 - hopefully they can help. My GYN called the whole thing a conundrum...he's not sure what to do. Hope all is well with you, and God bless you. Lyn

Posts: 245
Joined: May 2003

Hi Lyn. Have you asked them to check your hormone levels? Mine showed I was in menopause so I'm hoping it stays that way. My friend on the other hand tested normal, so she is expecting to get her period back even though there are no signs yet.

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2004

Susan, Thanks for your response. I see my GYN again of 6/1 to find out the results of the tests he ran - but everything so far has turned out normal. I do have ovarian cysts and uteran fibroids, but nothing large enough to be causing this much pain or the frequent periods. With the amount of chemo I was given, the med oncologist was surprised I have resumed function at all. Just had a abdominal and pelvic MRI to try to find the cause - since previous tests (CAT scans and sonograms) gave no reason for this. My docs all seem to think my body is just trying to be female again, and not sure how to go about doing it......for what it's worth, I'll stick with the night sweats and hot flashes!! Hope you are doing well, and my prayers are with you.

Posts: 9
Joined: May 2004

14 years ago, from one injection of chemo, that shut my whole system down, put me into menopause. Fun? Oh no. I still have flashes, but praise God they're getting fewer and shorter in duration. Email me, I'll try to encourage you.

marytres's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: May 2002

Hi, when I had chemo it induced menopause for me too. After I finished the chemo, about a month later, I got my period and it was very heavy. The oncologist said it was best if I didn't have my periods anymore and started giving me shots to chemically stop them. I took them for a year and a half and stopped but then my period came back and it was painful. Now I'm on the shots again but don't know for how long. He hopes they'll stop naturally eventually. I asked about a hysterectomy or ovarian ablation but he says why go through it when I can stop them chemically. I trust him but will discuss this again with him when I go next week for my usually shot. Ask your oncolgoist and let us know how it goes. Hugs, Marie

Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2003

Hi Marie, Shots of what to stop menstruation? Is it some sort of hormone? I'm curious, my periods went on through my first 2 rounds of chemo then stopped. At the onset of chemo I showed no signs of menopause but then a few months later a blood test showed I was in menopause. My doc (I saw her yesterday) says my periods might still come back. I too get the ovary pain and low back ache but then nothing happens. Not many hot flashes either. But the Dryness I absolutely hate. That's why I went to the doc. She gave me names of different lubricants to try and if that doesn't work said there is an estrogen insert but to ask my oncologist if it's OK. I was ER -. Anyone have any thoughts?

Posts: 706
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Lynda:

My cycles were regular as clockwork before chemo.
After that first cycle of A/C however, I never had another period.

I do get some strange things going on from time to time though. Nothing really bothersome but things I notice. I've never been bothered with hot flashes but do get night sweats. They come in strange cycles which neither my onc. nor gyn can figure out. I don't have them at all for about 3 months and BAM, here comes the night sweats. They last for about 2 weeks and go away again. The other thing I notice is that once in a great while, I begin to feel like my body used to feel prior to my periods...sort of sluggish, with some very mild pelvic pain for maybe a day and then it's gone. My gyn says it's likely caused by hormonal fluctuations. I don't worry about it as it happens maybe three times a year.

I had assumed that my ovaries were chemically "fried" after chemo but it appears that this is not the case. GYN says that the ovaries still continue to produce very small amounts of estrogen, post menopause and chemopause. It doesn't concern me, particularly since my tumor was hormone neg.. What I'd like to know is if or when DO the ovaries finally stop functioning completely??? At any rate, I haven't had a period in three years now, so it's safe to say that my menopause is permanent.

A friend had a different experience: During and
following chemo, her periods stopped. About 3 months post chemo she had a period...very heavy and lasted about 10 days. Then, 4 months passed before she had another one. It too was heavy and of longer duration than normal for her. She had only one more about 6 months after that and now hasn't had any period at all for almost 2 years. Her gyn says her menopause is permanaent. She was 44 at chemo and I was 48. There seems to be no predicting how each woman's ovaries/system will react to chemo. Onc says that past 35 years of age, the percentage of women experiencing permanent menopause from chemo rises substantially and incrementally. Still, there are exceptions to that general rule, as we all know.

The thing which needs addressing most in your case, seems to be the amount of pain you're having. Pre chemo, did you have this level of pain with your periods? Being 40, perhaps your body is just beginning to go into menopause (did your female relatives have many meno problems and at what ages did they go through it?) As I understand it, it can be a roller coaster, with periods, then no periods, sweats, flashes, mood swings, dry skin, insomnia, transitional memory lapses, all manner of little and big buggaboos going on and of course, finally, the occasional "change pregnancy". It occurs to me that some of us are fortunate to have had our menopause virtually overnight with chemo. We were spared the transition years of period difficulties, D and C's, as well as a lot of other things which can take more time when coming about naturally. Not sure if we're really fortunate though, since we paid a heavy price to get to the other side so quickly. Nontheless, here we are in meno and since I'm forever looking for silver linings, I'll consider myself fortunate, compared to some of the women I know who got there the natural way! Two friends had complete hysterectomies to remedy the chronic miseries and problems, another one finally went onto HRT (scary) another friend eats everything Soy she can find and uses natural remedies, which help her and keeps her out of the gyn's office so much. Still there are some women who sail right through, naturally, with few problems. Now THOSE are the fortunate one's!!!

I had a few ovarian cysts during my 20's and 30's and had some pain with them but nothing major or requiring meds. They went away on their own and of course, are not uncommon at all. Have never had fibroids so don't know if they can cause major pain even when they're small. Since we're all different, it stands to reason that what may not cause one person pain at all, may well give another person serious pain.

Hope your docs get to the bottom of this soon, although it's no fun having to go through so many tests, and can find the cause and a remedy, without surgery. My philosophy is try absolutely everything available before resorting to the knife!

Best wishes and keep us posted.

Love, light and laughter,

Posts: 116
Joined: Aug 2003

Hello my name is Marilyn and I went through six months of Chemo treatments in Dec.1989-May 1990 and I had trouble with my periods after chemo and I had a partial hysterectemy in Dec.1994 I do have hot flashes due to the chemo treatments but chemo changes everything in our system.

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