Apr 22, 2015 10:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center

Cancer and its treatments sometimes cause side effects that make it difficult to have sexual intercourse:

  • Men: Genital discomfort, pain during ejaculation, or difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
  • Women: Dry vagina, abnormal vaginal discharge, or bleeding after or during intercourse

If any of these side effects occur, patients should tell their health care team. Doctors and other specialists can find the cause and identify ways to help. For example, some men benefit from penile rehabilitation, and some men and women benefit from hormone replacement therapy to help restore sexual function.

Here are some suggestions for managing cancer-related changes in sexual health:

  • Patients should talk openly with their partners and health care teams about sex. Express expectations, concerns, or any problems affecting sexual health.
  • Patients of child-bearing age should ask their health care teams when it is safe to resume unprotected sex after treatment. Learn more about cancer and fertility through the Cancer Learning Center.
  • Keep an open mind about ways to give and receive sexual pleasure. Intimacy can still be expressed by touching, cuddling, and sharing feelings.

For more information about this or any cancer-related topic, contact the Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100.

Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute

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