I'm 5 years post treatment following radio chemo & brachy.
I developed PTSD some time after treatment n relation the psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.
Other than a couple of dates , a few snogs and some masturbation I had written off a future sex life and certainly had never imagined that I could contemplate penetrative sex .
I have now met someone who has changed that but I am scared - physical damage to already devastated organs after radio, stenosis, bleeding, incontinence, HPV , guilt, shame etc! I wasn't able to use the dilators and bleed after every examination.
Any advice ladies? He does know about diagnosis and treatment and doesn't seem put off but I'm wondering if it's all worth it.
thanking you in advance
I have seen a womens health physiotherapist and a psychosexual counsellor and both have helped me with sexual difficulties. So I can recommend asking for such referrals.
In my view, a good sex life does not have to include full penetration or penetration at all.
As to your wondering if it's all worth it, well yes - but don't put yourself under pressure, explore what works for you and your new beau.
My husband and I will start couple counselling at a sexuologist this monday. I could keep you updated if you like, since I am struggling too. Not physically but mentally
Thank you for your message.
Were you able to use the dilators? Do you worry about reinfection with HPV? I tried to source a clinic where I could get the vaccination but I'm 2 years too old, despite being at increased risk of other HPV related cancers - how unfair is that?!
Maybe I need to look at some psychosexual counselling
thanks again x
Thank you for your message,
I would love to hear how you are getting on
it sucks doesn't it!
keep in touch
I was OKish with dilators although, out of a set of four, I only got up to the second smallest one. It's possible that dilation isn't a big deal for me as the top half of my vagina was removed during my radicaI hysterectomy. Still I found the procedure a bit of a chore and the first few seconds could be quite painful, but the womens health physio helped me improve my technique. I also found starting with an oil based lubricant followed by a water based one helped to make it more comfortable. I hardly ever use dilators now because my oncologist said that I shouldn't get any new adhesions a year beyond treatment. I felt a bit cautious about giving up altogether so have chosen instead to use a good quality silicone vibrator (about the same size as the dilator I was using) - much more comfortable although possibly not so effective but it's a compromise I'm happy with.
I'm not sure what to think about being reinfected with HPV. I don't have a cervix because it was removed during my radical hysterectomy although there is still a risk for what remains. I'm not sure that radical hysterectomy and/or chemo-radio clears HPV so I decided not to worry about possible reinfection from my husband. I haven't been in a situation of having a new partner, since my diagnosis, but I can understand why that might trigger concerns about being reinfected - you could maybe try Jo's 'Ask The Expert' service for advice. Are you still able to get advice from your medical team - I notice you are 5 years post treatment.
I don't know how useful HPV vaccination would be for you although I don't see why it shouldn't at least protect you from HPV strains you have not yet encountered - maybe get advice? Have you considered getting a HPV vaccination privately?
yes I looked into the vaccination privately but they won't give it to women over 45 (I'm 47).
i will talk to my doctor and might think about psychosexual counselling. I'm glad you are you are in a good relationship and keeping well x