Sex and Cancer | The Unspoken Side Effect

Sex and cancer

We rarely hear these two words together, and that’s a problem because up to 70% of breast cancer patients and almost all gynecological cancer patients experience physical and emotional changes that impact their ability and desire to engage in sexual activity.

Side effects from treatment including pain, fatigue and emotional distress all impact sexual wellbeing.  Over time, the complex interplay between physical and emotional concerns can leave long-lasting changes to cancer survivor’s sexual wellbeing.

Common sexual changes amongst woman affected by cancer include:

– vaginal dryness, tightness and shrinkage
– decreased libido
– pain during or after sex
– changes to orgasm

If you have experienced any of these sexual changes,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE


Unfortunately, many cancer patients are not informed of these sexual side effects of cancer treatment, therefore many don’t expect these changes and don’t know how to manage them.  Fortunately, WITH SUPPORT up to 70 percent of cancer survivors CAN improve their sexual wellbeing.

There are several medical and psychological strategies that can help manage these side effects to improve your sexual wellbeing.

I’m going to share a few effective strategies to address sexual changes, specifically to manage vaginal dryness as it’s one of the most common sexual side effects after cancer.



Here are 3 effective strategies to manage vaginal changes after cancer:

Vaginal Dilators
Vaginal dilators can help stretch, lengthen and strengthen the vagina while also helping women gradually reconnect with their bodies

Vaginal moisturizers
Vaginal moisturizers can help stabilize PH levels to reduce dryness and pain.  These are very effective and need to be used daily for long-term results

Lubricants
Lubricants can help in the moment during sexual activity to improve moisture and reduce pain.  Venture out to a local sex shop to test a few different ones in the store to see which you like best.

There are several strategies out there to manage vaginal dryness.  I always recommend patients to try one at a time to see what works best for them.  Keep in mind that many of these strategies must be practiced and maintained for long-term benefit.  This can be hard, so if you feel a bit tired of trying these strategies, keep in mind that while it may be annoying at first, taking a few minutes each day can have a lasting impact on your sexual wellbeing.

If you would like additional support to manage sexual changes after cancer, schedule an appointment with me to take the first step!

Cancer takes away a lot, it doesn’t have to take away your sexual wellbeing.

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