Sexual Health after Cancer
It is not uncommon for women to experience negative sexual and vaginal health changes during and after cancer treatment. At Philadelphia Center for Sexual Medicine, we treat women with conditions such as pain with intercourse, poor vaginal lubrication, or lack of sexual interest and desire.
Common Side Effects for Women with Cancer
When women are treated for cancer with chemotherapy and / or radiation, there can be a precipitous decline in hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for vaginal health and pleasurable sexual responses. When a woman is treated for cancer she may experience a rapid and early menopause which results in a decline in these hormones. If she receives radiation there could be secondary damage to blood vessels, nerves and surrounding tissues that are needed for vaginal health.
Every woman that goes through cancer treatment is at risk for sexual and vaginal health complications that may include:
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Decrease in vaginal lubrication
- Drying or atrophy of the vagina
- Difficulty with sexual arousal
- Vaginal itchiness
- Decrease in libido
- Increase in urinary tract infections
These problems can be caused by a variety of cancer treatments. It can be due to hormone blocking medications commonly used for breast cancer (i.e, Tamoxifen, Arimidex), surgeries that remove the ovaries, and cancers that are treated with chemotherapy or radiation.
Dr. Gittens is board certified urologist with special fellowship training in sexual medicine. He was previously a joint assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology and urology.
If you have sexual or vaginal health concerns related to cancer treatment, schedule a Consultation today.
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