As a result of their cancer treatment, many young cancer survivors experience primary ovarian failure and subsequent premature menopause. This study examined the psychosexual adjustment of women who experience premature menopause due to cancer therapy. Severity of menopausal symptoms, relationship adjustment, body image and psychological distress were also assessed. Participants were 34 women (mean age 36 years) receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for at least 3 months for early menopause following non‐surgical treatment for cancer. Twenty‐four healthy female peers with normal menses served as a comparison sample. Prematurely menopausal women demonstrated a higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction (p<0.01), greater psychological distress (p<0.02) and more distressing menopausal symptoms (p<0.003) than the healthy women with normal menses. Twenty‐eight women (82%) reported reduced sexual functioning, with 13 women (38%) meeting DSM‐IV criteria for one or more sexual dysfunctions. Prematurely menopausal cancer survivors with diagnosable sexual dysfunctions tended to have greater menopausal symptoms, which itself was associated with higher psychological distress (p<0.001). Menopausal symptoms and relationship adjustment together were the best predictors of sexual dysfunction (p<0.07). Further exploration is needed of the factors contributing to psychosexual dysfunction and the development of clinical interventions for the psychosexual needs of women with cancer treatment‐induced menopause.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health