Menopause Support After Breast Cancer
Updated: Nov 1
Menopause is one of the deepest transformations we get to experience as adult women. The changes that take place in our bodies, minds, and spirit are profound. We go from having a body that is ready to produce new life–that gives itself away physically and energetically every month, to having a new body that is intact and able to focus solely on its own needs. We have an opportunity to harness the energy and power in this change. If we can
turn our attention inward to tend to our body and mind, we will be rewarded with the power of wisdom and inspiration.
With that said, living in the world and having your hormones change can be a challenge! Especially when menopause is ushered in or amplified by breast cancer treatment, this change can be extremely disruptive. Last week I talked about how breast cancer treatment impacts your hormones. To recap–
Chemo can “shock” your ovaries into menopause
Dexamethasone (a steroid) taken before and during chemo treatments is extra hard on your adrenal glands, which can make anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain worse
Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors block estrogen
Lupron shots shut down your ovaries
The stress from treatment can also make anxiety, depression, and insomnia worse
All of these things work together to decrease your reproductive hormones and stress out your adrenal glands (which make your stress hormones), potentially leaving you feeling pretty crummy. Some of the hormone-related symptoms I see most commonly include:
Hot flashes and night sweats
Blood sugar issues
Does this sound familiar? If so, you should know– what you are experiencing is likely hormone-related, you are not alone, and you’ve got some safe, effective choices that can help!
The fundamental principles of managing menopausal symptoms after breast cancer are:
Nourish your body: Food is one of the primary ways we receive health and nourishment–choose foods that make you feel vibrant!
Eat to minimize inflammation and optimize digestion (more on this in my next article)
Avoid alcohol and sugar (especially before bed!)
Sit down to eat, relax, and chew your food.
Nourish your hormones: Rest, relaxation, and inspiration help our brain coordinate healthy hormone function.
Breathe–tuning into the breath is the #1 way to let the body know it is time to get out of stress mode and into rest and repair mode. Try taking 5 deep breaths whenever you start to feel stressed.
Take breaks–sitting at a computer all day or filling the day with tasks and work feels like it will be productive, but when you take regular breaks your brain stays fresh so you can be much more productive with less time working.
Sleep!--When you are healing from treatment, 9-10 hours of sleep is good! Even when you’re not actively healing, 8-9 hours is optimal for most people.
*two hours per day of “self” time is critical for getting back into balance!
Inspiration–Turn your attention to the things that excite you and make you feel engaged.
Turn towards self care, listen to your intuition, gravitate towards what inspires you; this is the absolute root of feeling healthy through menopause. The more we direct our attention to self-care and allow this transformation to evolve, the easier it can feel. Good luck–I am here with you!
Want to find out more? Check out my Breast Cancer Recovery Program!
Next Time–Safe, effective, cancer-fighting herbal allies to help hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and more.