Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
What Is Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a condition where a woman' s vagina is dry. A moist environment
is necessary to perform intercourse. If vaginal dryness is present, this could lead
to pain and discomfort during intercourse with a loved one.
Changes in a woman during foreplay, or the period before intercourse, include thinning
of the walls of the vagina, and an increased ability of the vaginal walls to expand
during arousal. Your vagina will normally become wet, during the period of arousal,
prior to intercourse.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness:
One of the most common side effects of cancer chemotherapy is generalized
dryness through out the body. In women, this will lead to vaginal dryness as well.
Vaginal dryness does not mean that the woman is not aroused. The vagina may not
be able, due to prior therapy, to become lubricated.
Things You Can Do For Vaginal Dryness:
- Use water based vaginal lubricants such as K-Y jelly, Lubrin, Surgilube or Astroglide.
These are located in the feminine hygiene section or birth control section of your
pharmacy or drug store.
- Place the lubricant inside of your vagina with your fingers and on your partner's
penis just prior to penetration.
- Another vaginal dryness treatment option would be a vaginal moisturizer, such as
Replens, which may be use three times a week.
- Avoid use of vaseline as a vaginal lubricant as it can increase the chances and
severity of vaginal yeast infections.
- If inadequate sexual arousal is the cause of vaginal dryness, then you must explore
your feelings to determine why this is a concern.
- Some women with low blood estrogen levels may experience vaginal dryness. In this
case, if topical lubricants aren't effective, and if your healthcare provider permits,
you may use a conjugated estrogen cream daily for 10 days, then every other day.
If you have a hormone dependent cancer, estrogen therapy may not be right for you.
Common Problems With Sexuality: Impotence, Gynecomastia, Loss of Libido, Vaginal
Dryness, Vaginal Infection,
and Genital Pain
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health
care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information
contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org