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When you discovered that you had cancer you probably spent all your time in accepting the information and then focusing all your attention on getting well. However, now that the treatment is over and you are on the path to getting fit and fine many questions will pop in your mind; one being about how to get your sex life back on track.
During chemotherapy the medicine is injected right into the vein. Prolonged cancer treatment hence does cause permanent changes in your body. This can affect your self-confidence. Some side effects can be:
Other than this if you have had a surgery then there could have been the removal of some body organs. For example:
All this can make it tough for you to want intimacy. However, with some tips that we have brought for you, you can get your sex life slowly back on track.
If your cancer treatment is over or is even on going you might have a number of questions about your sex life that you have. Instead of keeping them to yourself or just searching for information on it on the Internet it is best to speak to your doctor about it. There is no need for any shyness about it. Sexuality is as important as any other activity. So, go and open up about your concerns and issues to your doctor so that you can get the right guidance.
Sex need not always be about penetration. As a couple you need to have an open mind about sex when you are recovering from cancer. There is a lot of pleasure that one can get even from touching. This could mean cuddles or running a finger all over the body. Such erotic touches can also give you a wonderful orgasm. So if you are recovering from cancer of your reproductive organs, or of your bladder, or even those that affect areas of the brain and spinal cord then it it’s best not to indulge in penetrative sex till everything heals.
Post cancer the woman’s body changes in many different ways. One such is that the vagina becomes dry. Attempting sex without the requisite amount of foreplay will hurt the vagina and the sex will be immensely painful. Hence it is best of you tell your partner about that the both of you can indulge in foreplay, or he may even use lubricants such that the vagina is adequately wet before the sex happens.
When you are recovering from cancer treatment you will find that you feel tired or exhausted. Due to this it could be that even though you want to indulge in sexual activity you are too tired. It is good to communicate this to your partner and allow him to take the lead. Let him do the activities while you can just enjoy the moment.
After chemotherapy there will be areas in your body that are sure and extremely painful to touch. There is no need to hide this information from your man. Let him know if a certain place hurts so that it can be avoided. For example if you had a surgery due to gynaecologic or anal cancer then you will have to allow time to heal before you have sex that involves vaginal or rectal penetration. This would also mean avoiding fingering, use of toys, or vibrators in these regions as well. At the end of the day you are recovering from an illness and your partner understands that you need healing time.
Chemotherapy can bring about changes within your body. For instance you might see that you have lost a lot or most of your hair. Don’t lose your self-confidence because of that or don’t think that your partner will no longer be attracted to you. Your bond goes deeper than just superficial looks.
There is a difference between sex and sexuality. Sexuality is all about how you feel about your body. Chemotherapy does alter the way we look. If you are feeling self conscious then some beauty and fashion tricks will help you when you are stepping out of the house. For example:
Healing will take the time. But you can always ease your way into better health by following a balanced and nutritious diet. In fact ask your doctor what would be the best foods for you to eat post cancer treatment. This will help you get your energy back for sure.
Cancer, like any illness, can make you feel anxious and jittery. However, if you want to feel sexually alive, one thing you will have to do is to stop getting stressed. For this, basis on what the doctor recommends, start exercising once again. Also try and practice relaxation techniques like medication and take massages.
When you are still in the recovery mode you will need to remember that even if you feel aroused you have to take greater care of yourself so that you can cure the cancer. So, if you are being tested for oral cancer then refrain from oral sex. On the other hand if your cancer is such that your platelet count has dropped then avoid penetrative sex be use it can lead to an increase in the probability of infection or even bleeding.
Sex is about two people. When you are recovering from cancer, while your partner will look after your needs when it comes to sex, you should protect him as well. So, if you are still undergoing chemotherapy then it is advisable that you tell your partner to wear a condom during both oral and penetrative sex so that he is not exposed to the either the IV or even the oral chemotherapy.
Recovery from cancer does not happen in one day and if you have gone through surgery it is likely that certain parts of your body is still sore. In such cases it is advisable to try out new positions if the usual one that your partner and you have been using hurts. For example if the missionary pose hurts then turn to your side during sex. Not only will new positions make your sex life interesting but it will also make it comfortable for you.
Vaginal dryness or the shrinking and thinning of the vaginal tissue is a very common problem that women face post chemotherapy. The hormone estrogen helps in vaginal lubrication but chemotherapy reduces the estrogen count thus causing dryness. Surgery can also reduce the size of the vagina and rational therapy for cancer treatment, if done in the vaginal area can lead to scaring. Vaginal dryness makes sex quite painful for the woman. Hence the use of lubricants is advisable during times likes this. It is best to use water-based lubricants without any fragrance or herbal components as these can irritate the vagina if it’s sore. You could also use estrogen free vaginal moisturizers like Replens or K-Y SILK-E, which will also improve the condition of the vaginal tissues. Estrogen based creams and rings are also available but it is best to discuss with your oncology team first before you use them especially if you have tumour growths that have happened due to any hormonal imbalance. If you have had radiation therapy then the use of dilators will help to keep the vagina open and make sex less painful. If therapy has tightened your muscles around the vagina then you may try the Kegel exercise to try and relax the muscles.
You might find it easy to open up amidst those who have gone through a treatment similar to yours. Your inhibitions about asking and finding out more about how to improve your sex life post cancer would be lower in such groups. Also, you will get a lot of first hand information and advice from those who have been already dealing with this and have found success.
Recovering from cancer might take time but now that you are on recovery mode keep your spirits high and follow these tips. You will soon find that you are feeling better and that your sex life is also steadily getting back on track.