One thing we don’t talk about is how cancer can affect our sexual health. It’s true: cancer can affect our ability to enjoy sex.
For women, one of the after effects of cancer is female sexual dysfunction.
How Cancer Affects Womens’ Sexual Health
Surprisingly, what may more directly affect the sexual health of women are cancer treatments. For example, radiation to the pelvic area can trigger sudden menopause, or cause irritation across the lining of the vagina.
Meanwhile, surgical options can remove parts of the breast or parts of sexual organs. Chemotherapy can damage the ovaries.
Besides the direct effects of these treatments, there are also many emotional effects. Women may find themselves depressed during treatment, or they may feel concerned with the way they look.
Illness and a feeling of lack of physical capability can also hurt self-esteem.
What a Patient Might Experience
Women going through female sexual dysfunction may not only experience a loss in desire for sex, but they may have increased difficulty reaching climax.
Depending on the effects of treatment, women may find themselves experiencing vaginal dryness, or even pain in the genital area.
What can be done to mitigate the effects of treatment? If medicine is causing specific side effects, such as loss of libido, perhaps a different medication can be substituted. For menopausal problems, a gynecologist or endocrinologist may be able to help.
Women who find themselves facing self-esteem issues in general and during intercourse might consider seeing a mental health professional. If they experience difficulty feeling pleasure, they might visit a sex therapist who specializes in treating cancer survivors.
Are you experiencing female sexual dysfunction? It’s important to stay informed, to know how you can mitigate the sexual issues of cancer treatment while also staying safe.
If you want to know more, call the GYN Wellness Center today.