Chemotherapy Treatment for Breast Cancer (cont.)

How Will Chemotherapy Affect My Menstrual Cycle?

Cancer and its treatment will undoubtedly cause many changes in your life. One change you may experience from chemotherapy if you receive it while you are still having your menstrual periods is alterations in your menstrual cycles - from irregular periods to the symptoms of menopause (the end of menstruation).

Experts don't fully understand all of chemotherapy's effects on the female reproductive system, but this article will begin to answer some of the questions you may have, including:

  • How does chemotherapy cause or contribute to the development of menopause?
  • Will chemotherapy affect my ability to get pregnant?
  • What are the symptoms of menopause and how can I deal with them?
  • How will I know if the way I am feeling is associated with menopause and not with my treatment, stress, or another factor?
  • What are some other conditions related to menopause?

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a normal stage in a woman's life. The term menopause is commonly used to describe any of the changes a woman experiences either before or after she stops menstruating. As menopause nears, the ovaries produce less estrogen, causing changes in the menstrual cycle and other physical changes.

Technically, menopause is the end of the reproductive phase of a woman's life, when the ovaries no longer produce eggs and she has her last menstrual cycle. The diagnosis of menopause is not confirmed until a woman has not had her period for six consecutive months. is not pregnant, and has blood tests consistent with the ovaries having stopped working.

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