After chemotherapy or gynecological surgery, some women stop having periods or their periods become irregular. For some women, after treatment, their periods will return to normal, but for other women, their periods will not return. These hormonal changes can cause the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, vaginal or bladder issues, fatigue, memory loss, mood swings, and weight gain.
Hot flashes: Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of warmth and sweating. They may be worse at night. Turn your thermostat down at night or sleep with a fan on. Wearing loose, cotton clothing may also keep you cooler.
Vaginal or bladder issues: You may experience vaginal dryness and a lack of interest in having sex. See Female Sexual Dysfunction for tips on managing these issues. You may also have trouble controlling your bladder. Try Kegel exercises to strengthen genital muscles. Wearing a pad or underwear liner can also be helpful.
Memory loss: Changes in mood and memory are often side effects of menopause. To manage changes in memory, try to plan ahead and write to-do lists and notes for yourself. You can even set reminders on your phone. Exercise your brain by doing puzzles, crosswords or Sudoku. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest.
Mood swings: For mood swings, take a deep breath and try to relax. Find an activity that calms you such as yoga, meditation, or walking in the park. Try exercising. Exercise is not only good for your body; it can elevate your mood as well by releasing endorphins. If your mood swings or depression is interfering with your daily activities, speak with your healthcare team. You may need assistance from a healthcare professional.
Weight gain: After menopause, women tend to hold more fat around their waists. To help with extra weight gain, eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise daily.