Sex and intimacy after Breast Cancer Treatment
May 16, 2023, 4:24 p.m.

Sex and intimacy after Breast Cancer Treatment

It is frequently observed that the sex life and intimacy of those who have received breast cancer therapy or are survivors are one of the most affected after the treatment.

Breast cancer can cause a number of changes, ranging from actual changes to your body to the body images that result from it, which can affect your sex life as well. Because it's still considered taboo to discuss sex, many are unable to do so openly. As a result, intimacy and sex can suffer while receiving cancer treatment.

According to a study by the University of Western Sydney, more than 70% of breast cancer survivors find it challenging to reignite their physical passion with their partner.

In a large study of women, the majority of the women stated that their sex lives were satisfactory prior to diagnosis, but that following treatment, they experienced a loss of libido and menopausal symptoms like painful sex and dry vagina.

Breast cancer is physically exhausting as well as emotionally stressful. A person's body changes as a result of their condition and any treatments they receive, including surgery, radiation, and medication. Chemotherapy's one significant drawback is hair loss, which changes a person's look and causes them to behave differently from those around them.

What kinds of intimate issues are survivors dealing with?

The most frequent side effects of the majority of therapies are nausea and pain, but there are also significant physical changes in the patient's lives.

Chemotherapy is known to have psychological side effects that can also cause normal persons to have decreased sex drive.

Many women cease feeling like themselves after having a mastectomy. Vaginal dryness, early menopausal symptoms, and diminished libido are examples of physical changes. In single women who have a hard time finding the perfect companion, these symptoms may be accentuated. The continuation of intimacy both during and after rehabilitation is essential for your mental well-being.

There are a few strategies that can be used to deal with intimacy and sex when having breast cancer.

1. Lack of desire: The effects of cancer treatment vary from person to person. Cancer medications decrease ovarian and estrogen production, which causes menopausal symptoms such vaginal dryness, loss of sex drive, and painful intercourse.
Finding better methods to rekindle your connection will be possible if you are free of the guilt associated with your lack of desire and place the blame on outside variables like hormones and medication.

2. Request Assistance: In general, oncologists do not like giving sexual advice, but they may often act as a bridge to assist you move closer to your sexual life. Ask for support. One should ask for support and bring up intimate problems. A pelvic floor expert can be contacted in the event of pain during sex. Your oncologist may send you to a gynecologist for a better evaluation of any additional problems you may have about the female reproductive system.

3. Talk about the mental component of recovery: Due to the physical changes in the body brought on by breast cancer, patients with breast cancer may feel uncomfortable when changing in front of their partner or themselves. It is necessary to provide assistance with specific adjustments and give them enough time to accept the changes to their bodies. It's important to include self-love in your daily life since it promotes self-confidence. A healthy and encouraging dialogue with your spouse can speed up the healing process. You can also seek out solo or couple counseling to help unravel the tangled web of sexuality between you and your partner.

4. Be patient: Just as the disease was treated over time, so too will the process of reestablishing intimacy take time. Be kind to yourself and your partner at the same time.

5. Communicate: The solution to the majority of issues is communication. It can be beneficial to discuss your worries and difficulties with your partner. To avoid suffering on both a mental and physical level, spouses generally avoid being intimate. When you try to solve the problem without thinking about sex, you could be surprised by the answers. It has been shown that such intervention is beneficial.  Talking openly about different sexual goods or positions with your spouse could improve your intimacy and help you get back in touch with your body.

Know that you are not alone if you have any of these issues. Never stop believing in yourself. Joining a group of cancer survivors and learning from their experiences is the best way to develop and learn. You can have a fulfilling sexual life after cancer with the help of self-love, patience, communication, medical assistance, and support.

Subscribe Newsletter

Get all the information, latest updates, and articles delivered directly in your inbox

Book An Appointment