Sex during cancer – Anxiety, depression, fatigue, change in appearance or vaginal dryness can reduce sexual desire.
It is possible to develop or renew your sexuality despite cancer.
Which side effects affect my sexuality?
Erection problems, sterility, pain, surgery or radiotherapy in the pelvic area can lead to problems with sexual desire during cancer.
For women, certain chemotherapy medications can disrupt your menstrual cycle (irregular or nonexistent), cause vaginal dryness or premature menopause (cold and hot flushes).
Learn to accept your new body and find the right ways to help increase your libido. In any case, do not hesitate to discuss any fears or doubts you may have with your partner.
Can we have sexual relations during chemotherapy?
Use a condom in the 4 days following chemotherapy as traces of certain substances can be found in your vaginal secretions, sperm, urine and stools. Wash your bedding and clothing separately from your normal washing during the 4 days following your cancer treatments.
Apart from that, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause some very uncomfortable secondary effects to your private parts, such as vaginal dryness and irritations. Protect and hydrate with specialised hydrating creams, intimate care gel and natural lubricants to ensure optimal comfort during your cancer treatments.
Continue taking any prescribed contraception as the risk of getting pregnant is still high, even if your menstrual cycle is disrupted.
It is recommended to wait several weeks, even months, after finishing your cancer treatments if you wish to fall pregnant to avoid any malformations to the foetus. Ask your doctor if it is necessary to freeze your sperm or eggs before any cancer treatments.
Sexuality and premature menopause
During sexual intercourse, use a water-based lubricating gel that is fragrance-free and colourant-free. Apply it around your vagina opening.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a cream or vaginal suppositories to ease vaginal dryness and frequent urinating during cancer. Avoid using Vaseline as it can cause infections.
Sexuality and Stoma
Wait 2 to 3 hours after eating before engaging in sexual relations. Change your stoma bag right before starting.
If you are uncomfortable, belts or crotch-less under-garments exist to hide your ostomy bag. You can also have sexual intercourse in your bathtub or shower.
Can I have sexual intercourse after surgery?
If you have had surgery around the pelvic area, avoid any sexual activity that involves penetration or excitement in this area. It is important to respect the healing time to avoid scar tearing.