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Photo by: Gage Skidmore | flickr - CC by-sa 2.0

Tracey O'Connor, MD

Tracey O'Connor, MD

Actress Olivia Munn is experiencing medically induced menopause as part of her ongoing treatment for breast cancer. In a recent interview with People magazine, Munn shared more details about her health journey, revealing she was diagnosed with luminal B breast cancer in April 2023 and had a double mastectomy and four additional surgeries. To reduce the risk of the cancer coming back, Munn began hormone suppression therapy in November, which has triggered menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, hair thinning and fatigue.

Moffitt Cancer Center medical oncologist Tracey O’Connor, MD, says medically-induced menopause uses medication to end a woman’s reproductive cycle and menstruation. “It’s a form of hormone therapy that stops the ovaries from making estrogen and helps to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in premenopausal women with hormone-sensitive cancers.”

This sudden onset may cause more intense symptoms than traditional menopause, but it depends on the individual woman. Symptoms include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort
  • Decreased libido
  • Fatigue and sleep problems
  • Mood changes

There are also certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, that can induce early menopause in women. But O’Connor said it is important to remember that not all cancer treatments cause menopause. She added, “Whether menopause is temporary or permanent depends on factors like treatment type, age and individual response. It is important to know that there are also treatments available to manage menopausal symptoms, improving quality of life.”