Cancer treatments

There are typically just four treatments for cancer – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. These treatments have very distinct effects on your body that can really make a meal of your ability to use any of your pelvic organs in the way in which you are accustomed.

One of the most troubling aspects of being cancer free – finally – can be the impact that cancer treatments have had on your body, particularly your vulva or vagina.

Many cancers can affect the tissue and function of the vagina, with the major culprits being oestrogen-dependent breast cancers and any cancer in the pelvic organs.

Vulvovaginal side effects of cancer treatments

  • Problems orgasming
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of desire
  • Painful sex
  • Smaller vaginal diameter
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of part of your sexual tissue
  • Loss of important hormones

Types of cancer treatments and how they affect your vagina

Sex after cancer treatments

Getting back into sex after cancer is an individual experience for each of us, but there are some common themes that will need to be addressed. You will need to decide what’s best for you as an individual, and these decisions and your desires will continue to shift as you go on.

If you have one, your emotional connection to your partner may have changed for better or worse during your cancer treatments. While this may be irrelevant for some of you, reconnecting sexually in whatever way this means for you means one of your first tasks is to foster is your connection.

Even if you don’t get to the sex bit for a while, without feeling connected satisfying sex will be all the harder. If you’re alone, your connection to yourself and your body may have changed and you’ll need to experiment and explore.

Your emotional wellness is one of the most important things you will have to care for after your cancer is gone. Women who have had breast, bladder, cervical, colon, ovarian, rectal, vulvar, uterine or vaginal cancers are at the most risk of physical impediments to satisfying sex.

Physical damage to your body can impact your ability to have sex, and affect the way you feel about your body.

Original price was: USD $9.95.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Original price was: USD $9.99.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)