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Female Sexual Health after Cancer

Oct 28th 2014 at 3:56 AM

Introduction
The treatment of cancer can cause emotional and physical alterations in the woman’s body and this can affect her sexual drive. It is important for the couple to ask the doctors any questions that they may have concerning the treatment of cancer.  This is important for them to be psychologically ready for the side effects that the treatment may have on sexuality. It is encouraged that the couple should be aware of how to manage the side effects that chemotherapy drugs may cause. This will help the partner to support the wife through the treatment.

Sexuality after Cancer Treatment
It is important for the woman to seek medical intervention in cases of any cases when they are receiving cancer treatment. Most women feel embarrassed about asking some questions concerning their sexual health. These women are encouraged not to feel embarrassed because the doctor is able to assist them in finding solution to their problem and may refer them to a specialist. The woman is encouraged to ask all questions and express their fears. Some women may feel pain when having sexual intercourse or they may feel less pleasure. These women are encouraged to talk to their doctor concerning all their concerns. It is important for women to know that their sexual health is important after the treatment of cancer.

Sexual Thoughts after Cancer
Thinking about sexual activity after cancer treatment varies from one person to another. Some people take a break for a while others engage in sexual activity immediately.
There are signs that will alert the woman to talk to their doctor about their sexuality after cancer treatment and they include:

• Reduced sexual drive
• Negative feelings and thoughts while having sexual intercourse
• Difficulty in having sexual pleasure and excitement while having sexual activity
• Difficulty in achieving orgasm
• Vaginal tightness and dryness
• Pain when having sex
• Discomfort when the vagina or the genital area is touched


Most women develop new problems in their sexual health after cancer treatment. Women are encouraged to be observant and report to their doctor especially when they notice that their sexual drive has decreased. Other problems may develop months or years after the treatment has been administered. This includes reduction in the lubrication and size of the vagina after radiotherapy of the pelvis.

Physical Effects of Cancer Treatment on Sexual Health
There are many causes of concerns in female sexual health after the administration of cancer treatment. Some of these concerns are physical and others are issues with the body image and self-esteem. Studies have revealed that the women who have cancers that involve the colon, bladder, vagina, ovaries, cervix and uterus usually develop sexual problems that are long-term. Most of the problems that they experience are caused by the treatment of the cancers and not the presence of the cancer in their body.

The problems that are brought about by the treatment administered include:

  • Radiotherapy: When radiation is given around the pelvic area, damage can occur to the ovaries and this can cause an early menopause. When radiation is given around the vagina, it can irritate the lining of the vagina and this reduces lubrication thus reducing sexual pleasure. When radiation is given for some time, the vaginal walls may scar and this may cause the vagina to shorten and unable to expand when one is having sexual intercourse.
  • Chemotherapy: This mode of treatment can cause damage to the ovaries and this causes a hormonal imbalance in the body. This may in turn cause a permanent or temporary menopause in women of the childbearing period.
  • Surgery of the Pelvic Floor: When there is a cancer involving the pelvis, many parts that help in sexual functioning may be removed. This includes removing the ovaries, vulva or the vagina during vaginal cancer and this can lead to menopause and inability to have sexual pleasure.

Finding Help after Cancer Treatment
The woman is encouraged to talk to their doctor to know when they can resume sexual activity. It is also important for the woman to talk to their partner about any sexual issues. Most partners hesitate talking about sex with their partner because they presume that they may cause physical pain to them. The partners are encouraged to prepare for sexual activity be ensuring that they are in the mood. They are also encouraged to concentrate on having pleasure rather than the ability to reach an orgasm. The woman can use vaginal lubricants and moisturizer when they have dryness of the vagina.

Conclusion
The treatment of cancer causes many alterations in the body of the woman. It is important for both partners to be prepared psychologically before the cancer treatment is administered to the woman. They are encouraged to ask their doctor all questions concerning the treatment and their side effects. Different modes of treatment include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery and they all have varied effects on sexual functioning. The woman is encouraged to talk to their partner because most of them hesitate talking about sexual intercourse. The woman is encouraged to use moisturizer and lubricants to reduce the drying of the vagina.

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