Does being on Tamoxifen feel like the menopause?

Maybe this is a stupid question (sorry), but can anyone tell me who has experienced being on Tamoxifen and also having a surgically induced menopause whether you end up having similar side effects. I have noticed how after a short time on Tamoxifen (3 weeks) how depressed & lethargic I have become, and I did always wonder (as I am pre-menopausal) whether ovary removal might be a better way to cut the oestrogen. However, then I’ve been wondering whether that’s what it feels like when you are not ovulating anymore. I am 50 but still with quite high oestriol (?) levels, so I was wondering whether ovary removal might be better than 5 years of depression on Tamoxifen - unless of course I’m just as likely to get depressed by low oestrogen following ovary removal! I may be being very simplistic about this - has anyone any views?
Thanks so much

even if you got your ovaries out you would still be recommended tamoxifen as ovary removal stops circulating oestrogen but tamoxifen prevents cancer.

you have only been on it a very short while so give it a chance to settle down and your body to become used to it… like any medication it can take a wee while to work especially hormonal types of medication where it can take around 3-6 months for your body to work with it… they symptoms are much more pronounced at the start and hopefully you will find that you get back to your usual self pretty soon.

things like lethargy and depression can be symptoms of cancer diagnosis and other cancer treatments too so may not actually be the tamoxifen… often when the active treatment has finished breast cancer patients do feel quite depressed and your not alone in feeling like that.

not sure if you have seen this article called after the treatment has finished its very informative

and yes the menopausal symptoms could be much much more intensive with your ovaries removed.

Lulu x

If your ovaries were removed (oopherectomy) then you could take an aromatase inhibitor like Arimidex because you would be menopausal. Arimidex is proving to be slightly more effective than Tamoxifen in preventing recurrence (although Tamoxifen is still excellent.)
I have had an oopherectomy and have been on Arimidex for about 15 months. The side effects are a bit grim at times but I am unsure if that is down to menopause, Arimdex side effects or the ongoing legacy of chemo and rads.
As Lulu says you should probably give the Tamoxifen a few months to see if the SEs settle down.
An oopherectomy on its own won’t be as effective as the hormone therapies - although it is a good start! And it is a very easy op.
Good luck.

Meggy, I too was depressed on tamoxifen, but for me, unlike Lulu, the longer I took it the more pronounced the side effects were - and I had the lot! The onc told me to have a break and see how I felt - after a week I felt great (and I was in the middle of rads at the time). I went back on it for a while, but after being on it for a total of 5 months my onc took me off it and put me on Zoladex (to stop the ovaries working) and Arimidex, so there is an alternative. (I’m 53 and wasn’t menopausal.) I am much better on these drugs, although I have to admit the hot flushes are worse.

I’m now waiting for an oophorectomy, which will mean I won’t have to have the zoladex injections any more, which is great.

As Lulu said, don’t rush into stopping it and I hope you’ve read the cancer counselling trust stuff - it’s really helpful.

Thanks a lot for all your comments and the link to the cancer counselling stuff - that’s really interesting & I hadn’t come across it. I’ll stick with Tamoxifen for abit more time and see what happens although I will discuss the options again when I see the onc next month.