Forced menopause or surgical menopause can happen as the result of cancer treatment. It is different from the natural process of menopause, in which the menstrual cycle and the ability to conceive a child slowly ends. Natural menopause can take years to complete from peri-menopause to post-menopause.
However, for some women undergoing cancer treatment, menopause occurs in a single day or several weeks because of surgery, chemotherapy, or pelvic radiation therapy.
This is called surgical or forced menopause and can be either a permanent or temporary side effect of treatment.
The ovaries serve as a major hormone production center for estrogen and progesterone, two essential hormones that support the menstrual cycle and fertility. Cancer treatment can impair the function of the ovaries. Without the hormones produced in the ovaries, the menstrual cycle cannot continue as normal. It may slow or shut down. This can be temporary with some treatments but is permanent with others.