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Even if you had discussed the possibility of early menopause with your doctor before treatment, it can still be a shock when it happens. Dealing with the actual treatment for cancer is a challenge in itself and having to deal with strong menopausal symptoms at the same time can be overwhelming. You may feel mixed emotions. Many women feel anxious about what will happen to them as part of the menopause. Others are angry, sad or worried, and some are not bothered because it’s something that happens to all women.
Each woman’s experience of menopause is different and many women have only mild symptoms. For some women though, the severity of their menopausal symptoms comes as a shock and is emotionally and physically draining. Symptoms will ease over time, but in the meantime it’s important to remember that there are treatments that can help you and also specialists who can help you deal with the different symptoms. Your hospital may even have a specialist menopause clinic for women in your situation.
Losing the ability to have children naturally can provoke strong emotions in women. Even if you did not intend to have children or have already had the children you wanted, the loss of choice over your fertility can be very upsetting. You may also feel you have lost a part of yourself and are less feminine, which may affect your self confidence. You may feel very sad or angry that the treatment has changed your body.
If you’ve not yet had the children you wish to have, going through early menopause can be particularly hard to deal with. The sudden withdrawal of your ability to have children might elicit strong emotions similar to a bereavement. You may also find it difficult to socialise with friends who are starting their own families.
All this is natural and it will take time for you to come to terms with infertility. You may need help and support from a professional. You may find our support services useful – these enable you to talk to others who are going through similar experiences.