Leukemia and Early Menopause



Women going through the change of life, otherwise known as “menopause”, will begin to experience changes in the body, as normal levels of estrogen are no longer produced. Menopause is actually broken down by early menopause and menopause or post-menopause. During the early stage, monthly periods will fluctuate, moodiness, insomnia, and other symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and joint pain will be experienced. Then once the woman no longer has a period for 12 consecutive months, she goes into the second stage. In this article, we will talk specifically how leukemia and early menopause are linked.

Early menopause can be caused by several things. Leukemia and early menopause is just one example. While the actual disease does not cause the menopause, the chemotherapy does. Chemotherapy is the process of cancer-killing drugs being used intravenously or orally. When given for leukemia the drug is used in a number of ways because of the many different forms of the disease. However, leukemia typically requires a combination of chemotherapy along with other anticancer drugs. Together, the drugs work to destroy cancer cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.

The problem is that with this type of treatment, some of the body’s non-cancerous cells are also affected, specifically the white blood cells, blood-clotting platelets, hair follicles, and the cells lining the gastrointestinal system. When this occurs, the cells are either damaged or destroyed. For leukemia and early menopause, when the woman is given chemotherapy, the normal menstrual cycle can change. In addition, some of the medications used in chemotherapy can cause serious damage to the ovaries, which can cause menopausal symptoms.

The thing with leukemia and early menopause is that the chemotherapy can cause immediate menopausal problems or the symptoms might be delayed. In addition, the symptoms of menopause could simply be temporary, meaning after chemotherapy treatment the body returns to having a normal cycle or it could be permanent. When you look at chemotherapy and early menopause, there is no actual way to determine how or when the menstrual cycle will be affected since it varies depending on the drugs used, the concentration of the drug, and the woman’s own body.

Now, for the women dealing with leukemia and early menopause, life can be frustrating. Not only is she battling the cancer but also the change of life, even if at a young age. The good news is that seldom will the woman be thrust into menopause suddenly, although it can happen. Typically, once chemotherapy starts, she will notice slight menopausal symptoms to include fluctuating periods, minor hot flashes, and so on. Then after several months after treatment starting, she will begin to notice more and more symptoms.

Just as the normal process of menopause varies from one woman to another, chemotherapy for leukemia will also vary early menopause symptoms. For example, one woman may skip a period or begin to have more cycles per month while another woman has longer periods, or the woman may have lighter or heavier flows. Therefore, trying to determine the exact outcome is near impossible. The most important aspect of leukemia and early menopause is that if you notice that things simply do not seem right or you have any concern whatsoever, you should talk to your doctor.

As far as the leukemia and early menopause symptoms, once you get past the first few months, you will likely begin to experience hot flashes, which will come on suddenly and produce the sensation of intense heat from about the chest up to the top of the head. These hot flashes usually last 30 to 45 seconds although they can last longer. To reduce the symptoms of hot flashes, you want to avoid being out in hot weather, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. If the hot flashes become too much to bear, you might try taking Dong Quai, or a combination of Black Cohosh, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

Dealing with leukemia and early menopause is definitely a challenge but certainly possible. You would expect to be going through a lot of emotional change so it is important that you have exceptional support from family and friends. However, you should expect to experience things such as irritability, aggressiveness, loss of energy, no motivation, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, depression, insomnia, and nervousness. Although frustrating, you have options to help ease the symptoms. For help, you might talk to your doctor about a mild antidepressant or look into some of your natural herbal remedies.

If you are dealing with leukemia and early menopause, it is essential that you keep your body nourished with a good, well balanced diet. This means sticking to foods low in carbohydrates, lean meats, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. You will also need to get as much rest as possible. If you have trouble sleeping, again talk to your doctor or consider taking natural Kava Kava. Finally, although you might not feel like vigorous exercise, try to take a walk whenever possible. This is the time to be good to your body and to your mind. Surround yourself with people who offer lots of love and support and just remember that this will pass.


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