Chemopause = menopause, brought on by chemotherapy treatment or some surgeries used to treat cancer.  Common if not ubiquitous in female cancer patients.

Causes:  Heck if I know.  Although I did find out that chemopause can be medically induced on purpose.

Effects: Hot flashes, cold flashes, cessation of menstrual periods, possible memory issues.

Duration: May be permanent.  Some female cancer patients go into chemopause during treatment and then return to “normal” several months to years later.  They’ll go through menopause again at a more appropriate age.  Others, typically older patients closer to menopause, find that their bodies simply adjust to an early menopause, and it sticks.

My opinion:  It doesn’t bother me, really.  I’ve had my babies, so it’s okay.  I fried my eggs with the chemo anyway.  (Some young women with cancer undergo fertility treatments and harvest eggs for later births before they start chemo; I didn’t have the time for that.)  But I find it interesting and thought I’d define a new word on the blog today. 

Now would someone PLEASE turn down the heat in here? 



22 Responses to Chemopause

  1. ~JJ! says:

    Jeez. Those hot flashes are tough. I get them and I’m not even close to least not that I know of…

    Feel better.


  2. BetteJo says:

    Hot flashes and memory issues on top of everything else? Makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it. Ugh.

  3. Gidge says:

    I actually know two people that went through it and I’m glad you are okay with it. It seems like something they should tell you about up front “oh hey BTW this might happen.” I realize in the face of cancer it probably doens’t seem important to doctors who are working to keep you alive and well – but so many changes must be overwhelming. I’m sure you didn’t need one more.

    On the upside – you can buy yourself something cute with the tampon money you save.

  4. MammaLoves says:

    And I guess walking around naked might be frowned on by the neighbors. Can’t they just understand it’s the hot flashes?!

    My mom used to have a button:
    They’re not hot flashes, they’re power surges.

  5. b*babbler says:

    And hey, if there has to be an upside to this (silver lining, etc), complication free sex? Definite benefit. No more trips to the “feminine hygiene aisle”. Definite benefit. No more PMS? Woohoo!

  6. Jacquie says:

    I had to take fertility medicines and they gave me hot flashes, I so feel for you.

  7. Now you can say you’re a “hot chick” in more ways than one…

    Just tell people, “I’m having my own personal summer!” every time a flash hits and you have to break out the fan…

    xo CGF

  8. Oh, THIS I may know sooner rather than later. Take notes for me, please.

  9. Just one word from a veteran: Layers.

  10. Lisa says:

    I love your word!

  11. MamaDB says:

    I guess the upside is that Fall has arrived and you aren’t going through this in the middle of August in D.C. It also is one more indication that the chemo is doing what it is supposed to. Thank goodness for that.

    Love the word, chemopause.

  12. magnetobold says:

    Well that just sucks. Upside is no more feminine hygiene products though! Here in Oz they are taxed as a LUXURY ITEM!!!! Men’s razors aren’t though….. hrmph.

  13. Ariel Light says:

    I overheard a woman say when asked of she were ok, “Oh never mind me, I’m having my own personal summer!” I’ve since used that line myself when asked about a hot flash related moment. 😉

    I lurk here, but wanted to take the time to tell you that your courage shames me, but encourages me to be a little braver with my ordinary life, and my ordinary struggles.


  14. Imstell says:

    Love the word. Email when you want some advise about the other unhappy side-effects of chemopause. I’ll direct you to some helpful products. 😉 It is convenient not to have hair when your flashing all over the place!!!!

  15. whymommy says:

    Imstell makes a good point — I just let the heat flash out the back of my skull. Nice, that!

  16. Ree says:

    Aw, thanks WhyMommy! For the award and for the recognition.

  17. Chris says:

    My friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I am tryin to find the words to support her through this time and though good with these sorts of things, I just can’t find the words to say…

    That being said, our prayers are with you unknown friend….

    Chris from Canada.

    With love and support from Ontario Canada….

  18. Chris says:

    I have seen
    too many sad eyes look at me
    eyes that set me free
    in a world that doesn’t share
    And your eyes
    tell the story of your pain
    severity of your disdain
    in a world that doesn’t care
    So thank you for
    the letters that you thought you wrote
    in vain
    and for
    the times you chose to stand out in the rain
    and wait
    for me…….

  19. […] last four weeks is a simple case of night sweats.  I first wrote about them when I told you about chemopause, but they’ve really been keeping me up at night lately.  All night long, I toss and turn, […]

  20. […] I’m still 35.  No, I’m not in chemo again.  But I am taking tamoxifen, an oral chemotherapy agent that prevents my body from using […]

  21. […] I’m still 35.  No, I’m not in chemo again.  But I am taking tamoxifen, an oral chemotherapy agent that prevents my body from using […]

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