Menopause and fertility

Chemotherapy for early breast cancer can cause your periods to stop and affect your ability to become pregnant. If your periods stop permanently, this is known as early menopause, and it means you will no longer be able to have children.

Learn more about:

Symptoms of menopause

Some of the symptoms of menopause include:

  • hot flushes and sweats
  • trouble sleeping
  • vaginal dryness
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • tiredness
  • dry skin
  • aches and pains
  • mood swings
  • poor concentration
  • weight gain
  • osteoporosis.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Talk to your doctor or breast care nurse about ways to manage any symptoms you experience.

Cancer Council’s Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer booklet includes tips for managing menopause symptoms, including vaginal dryness.

Fertility concerns

If preserving your fertility is important to you, ask your doctor for a referral to a fertility clinic before treatment starts. 

Cancer Council’s Fertility and Cancer booklet also provides information about fertility treatment options.

If you learn you may be permanently infertile, you may feel a great sense of loss. You might be devastated that you won’t have your own children or additional children, and you might worry about the impact of this on your relationship. It’s normal to feel this way even if your family is complete or you weren’t planning on having children.

Talking to a counsellor or someone in a similar situation may help − call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information about counselling services and support groups in your area.

This information was last reviewed in July 2016
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Life after cancer treatment
Support groups, programs and webinars for people who have finished treatment

Cancer information

Fertility and cancer
The impact of cancer treatment and options for preserving fertility

Managing sexual changes – women only
Information about early menopause and other sexual issues after cancer treatment