Sexual Health after Cancer

Getting back to normal has never been so overlooked. It is not uncommon for women to experience negative sexual and vaginal health changes during and after cancer treatment. At Centers for Sexual Medicine and Wellness in New York and Philadelphia, 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 also called early menopause. These hormones are responsible for vaginal health and pleasurable sexual responses. 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.

Comprehensive Care

Dr. Gittens is board certified urologist with special fellowship training in sexual medicine. He is also a clinical associate professor in Ob/Gyn. Dr. Gittens works closely with area sexual psychologist and physical therapist to provide well rounded care.

Do you have sexual or vaginal health concerns related to cancer treatment?

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