Dealing with menopausal symptoms
Breast cancer treatments and menopausal symptoms
What are the most common menopausal symptoms?
- Hot flushes / night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
- Mood changes
- General aches and pains
- Poor concentration
- Insomnia (sleeplessness)
Coping with hot flushes
Some women who have hot flushes also feel their heartbeat racing (palpitations) or develop a sense of anxiety. Usually, these flushes become less severe over time but for some women they can be long‑lasting.
Dealing with hot flushes
- Avoid warm areas and use an electric fan to lower your skin temperature.
- You may find it helpful to avoid certain foods and drinks such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and hot drinks.
- Avoid hot baths or showers, as they may trigger a hot flush.
- Wear cotton or special wicking-fabric clothing. Cotton absorbs moisture and wicking fabrics take moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable.
- Wear layers of clothing so that you can remove or add clothing as your body temperature changes.
- Use several layers of cotton or wicking fabric bed linen that can be removed as needed.
- Keep a cool gel pack under your pillow at night for a cooling effect when you need it.
- Use sprays or moist wipes to help lower your skin temperature. You could add aromatherapy oils to the spray, such as cooling peppermint or relaxing lavender.
- Drinking cold drinks can help.
- Regular exercise, such as going for a walk, may help reduce your symptoms.
- If you are overweight, losing weight can help to reduce your symptoms.
- If you smoke, stopping may help reduce your symptoms.
- Phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens)
- Evening primrose oil
Prescribed drug therapies
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Antidepressant drugs
- Low-dose progesterone
Decreased sex drive
Bone thinning (osteoporosis)
Taking care of your bones
- Take regular exercise such as walking, cycling or working out at the gym.
- Make sure your diet has plenty of calcium-rich foods like cheese, sardines, yogurt and green, leafy vegetables.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Stop smoking
- Make sure you take any bone-loss medication prescribed for you.
For more information on individual support or support groups in your area, call the Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre.
Call our Cancer Nurseline
Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 6pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm