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Mature Women's Centre Victoria General Hospital

Treatment Induced Menopause

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The Role of Hormones
Your ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone, and androgen. These hormones play a vital role in the reproductive cycle and sexuality. Estrogen and progestin act in a cyclical fashion to prepare and maintain the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, for pregnancy. Estrogen also promotes the development of sexual characteristics that distinguish women from men. Androgen increases female libido, or sex drive, and provides a sense of well being.

Hormone levels will decrease to post menopausal levels within hours of surgery to remove your ovaries. Women treated with some forms of chemotherapy or gynecological radiation may also experience this sudden decrease. Those women who are closer in age to a natural menopause will likely notice less of a change in hormone levels and may have minimal symptoms.

You may observe that some menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes occur immediately, while others such as vaginal dryness, may occur months later. Other effects of low hormone levels, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease or osteoporosis, may be invisible for years. When menopause is induced earlier in life, the impact of missing hormones is greater over your lifetime.