Coping with early menopause after radical hysterectomy and radiotherapy

My wife underwent a radical hysterectomy due to cervical cancer, with the left ovary repositioned higher on the left muscle in line with the belly button to protect it from the radiation therapy she underwent, which was delayed and finished exactly 6 months ago.

A month after the radiation, she started experiencing signs of early menopause, especially insomnia and waking up every half hour, which persist and have become increasingly severe. It's impossible for her to function properly and return to normal life, to concentrate on work and study.

Unfortunately, her doctor is unsure if the cancer she had was estrogen-dependent, but hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not permitted.

After researching online, I found out that there are some herbal supplements that can alleviate these symptoms.

Has anyone else experienced this, and how did they manage to solve it?

Are herbal supplements containing extracts of chaste tree, wild yam, hops, black cohosh, angelica, and ginseng, or those based on red clover, sage, hops, valerian, or lemon balm allowed and recommended?

If anyone has used any of these herbal supplements or any other, which one did they use?

Thank you.

  • Hi Shy27,

    Welcome to Cancer Chat. I'm sorry to hear that your wife is experiencing these signs of early menopause and the insomnia is preventing her from functioning properly -  it's hard indeed to concentrate on work or on anything really when suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation. 

    We have some information on our website on menopausal symptoms and cancer treatment, which may be helpful to you and which looks at the effects of early menopause due to cancer treatment. The menopause charity also has a lot of information about alternatives to HRT

    Regarding the use of herbal supplements to relieve menopause symptoms, I thought  I would mention that the NHS website gives information about herbal and complementary therapies It would be a good idea to discuss any of this with your wife's doctor, particularly if you/she are thinking of going ahead with anything just to get their medical expertise on what might work best for your wife. Do talk to her doctor too about her insomnia and how it is currently affecting her as they might have some suggestions which might help. 

    Best wishes,

    Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator

  • Shy 

    sorry to hear about your wife , I had breast cancer last year and it was hormone related so can’t take hrt , I was advised not to take any herbal supplements that resemble hrt tgis is not good and strictly can’t take them have to go cold turkey it’s horrendous but safer as I was told if I take these I could have a reoccurrence 

    I would speak to the GP there are lots of other things other than hrt that can help your wife along 

    good luck to you and your side 

  • Hi . I am about to go though the same and i am petrified. I have been diagnosed with womb cancer, my surgery is due on 31st om may and i was told i cannot have any HRT offered. I am not sure how can I normally function after this. How this will affect me and being able to function normally and look after my son. I have wonderfull husband but he doesn’t deall very well  with me beeing stressed about it and he does not have any idea of how early manopose will change me and our life. He thinks that i will recover from surgery , 6-8 weeks and boom  everything will be as usual . I will be as normal . 
    i am horribly petrified. 
    i know that this post does not aswer your question, but perhaps we would be able to jeep in touch just for occasional chst and to share experiences