Am I In Menopause?

Updated 
August 31, 2015
Reviewed By: 

As a woman affected by breast cancer, you may have been premenopausalinfo-icon or perimenopausalinfo-icon before your diagnosisinfo-icon. Premenopausal women still get their monthly period, while perimenopausal women have their period every now and then.

Every woman goes through menopauseinfo-icon as she ages. But breast cancer treatments — including surgeryinfo-icon to remove ovaries, chemotherapyinfo-icon and hormonal therapyinfo-icon — may cause your menstrual periods to stop temporarily or permanently before the average age for natural menopause.

You are in menopause if your menstrual cycleinfo-icon stops permanently and you have no periods for 12 months in a row. The average age of natural menopause is 51.

In most women who reach natural menopause, it is unlikely to get periods again after the menstrual cycle stops for 12 months in a row. However, for women who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer, there is a higher chance of getting periods back even after menstrual cycles stop for 12 months in a row. 

If you had regular periods before chemotherapy, they may return afterward. The younger you are during treatment, the more likely your periods will return.

You are in early menopauseinfo-icon if your periods end due to treatment that began when you were still premenopausal. Doctors sometimes call this premature menopauseinfo-icon if it occurs at age 40 or younger.

Will Your Periods Return?

Your periods may start again at some point after chemotherapyinfo-icon or hormonal therapyinfo-icon. Research hasn’t yet shown a good way to predict if you will regain your periods or not, although age is a factor.

The younger you start treatment for breast cancer, the more likely your periods will begin again after chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.  

  • Young women have more egg follicles, so have more left after treatment
  • Women under 35 have a better chance of seeing their periods return
  • After age 40, treatment-related menopauseinfo-icon is more likely to be permanent

If your periods stop during chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, you may still be able to become pregnant.