Sometimes women will experience side effects like pain during intercourse during or after cancer treatment. This can happen with a handful of cancers, but there are solutions to this problem. We asked Dr. Jeanne Carter, a sexual psychologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to outline some of the options for women who run into these sexual complications.
“We have to figure out what the pain could be connected with,” Dr. Carter said. “It could be a tissue quality aspect, which is easily remedied with moisturizers and lubricants. It could be a pelvic floor disfunction, which [can be resolved] by learning to move your pelvic floor appropriately, using tools such as dilators.” Read More
A dilator can help women to feel connected to their body
again. It is a cylinder object that is placed inside the vaginal canal and gradually increases in size. Dilators have typically been used for women who had radiation to the pelvic area — but Dr. Carter said that they can also be used for pretty much any woman who has had difficulty with pain during intercourse. “We usually recommend a firm dilator so that a woman can do gentle stretching within the canal,” Dr. Carter said. “Soft dilators have a tendency to move more outside than inside. I think it’s a useful tool that can be used by any woman having pain.” Dilators can be given out by your OBGYN. But you can also order them online. There are some restrictions on how soon after cancer treatment a woman can begin using a dilator — so it’s important to ask your doctor before trying this method.
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