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Does cancer treatment affect your sexual desire or sex life? Know here

World Cancer Day: If you're wondering what could be the impact of cancer or cancer treatment on your sex life or sexual desire, then here's what you need to know.
Using lubes can enhance your sexual experience! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit Updated: 3 Feb 2023, 12:06 pm IST

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Cancer and cancer treatment can have a significant impact on sex life. Cancer can affect sexual function in both men and women, and cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy can also have an impact. It is a complex issue and the way that cancer and cancer treatment affects it can vary from person to person.

Some people may find that cancer leads to difficulties in their sex life. Common issues that people may face include pain during intercourse, fatigue, body image changes, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, and reduced libido. It is important to remember that these are common issues and there are many ways to address them.

If you are experiencing any difficulties with your sex life after cancer treatment, it is important to talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional. They can provide you with information and resources to help you manage any problems you may be having.

Does cancer treatment affect your sexual desire or sex life? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How cancer and cancer treatment affect sexual desire?

Cancer and cancer treatment can have a significant effect on sexual desire. For some people, the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments can be major libido killers. Fatigue, nausea, pain, and anxiety can all contribute to a decreased sex drive. In addition, some cancer treatments can cause erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness, which can make sex less enjoyable.

For other people, the opposite may be true. The stress and anxiety of having cancer can actually increase sexual desire. Some people find that they are more focused on their sexuality and have more intense orgasms during this time. It is important to remember that everyone is different and will experience different changes in their sex life during treatment.

If you are struggling with changes in your sexual desire, there are many resources available to help. Talk to your doctor or oncologist about your concerns. They can offer advice on how to manage side effects and help you find ways to enjoy sex again. There are also support groups available for people affected by cancer. These groups can provide valuable information and emotional support.

Also Read: Chemotherapy can have serious side effects. Here’s how to cope up with them

How cancer and cancer treatment affect physical intimacy?

Cancer and cancer treatment can have a number of physical effects that can impact sexual intimacy. For example, cancer may cause fatigue, pain, or changes in body image that make it difficult to feel sexual desire or to enjoy sex. Cancer treatment side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, mouth sores and hair loss can also be a major barrier to sexual activity. In addition, some cancer treatments can cause erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness, making intercourse painful or impossible.

Impact of cancer treatment on your sexual health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The good news is that there are many ways to manage these physical effects and still maintain a satisfying sex life. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of using lubricants, toys, or other devices to help make sex more comfortable. If fatigue is a problem, consider trying different positions or taking breaks during sex. And don’t forget that communication is key—talk openly with your partner about what you’re experiencing and what you need from them to make sex enjoyable again.

How to cope with changes in sexual life during and after treatment?

Sexual changes during cancer treatment are common and can be very difficult to deal with. It is important to talk to your doctor or nurse about any changes in your sexual life, as they may be able to offer advice and support.

Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your sexual activity in a number of ways. For example, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and body image issues can all make sex less enjoyable or even impossible. Medications used during treatment can also have a negative impact on sexual function.

It is often hard to talk about sexual changes with family and friends, but it is important to do so if you are struggling. There are also many support groups available for people affected by cancer, which can be a great place to share experiences and get advice from others who understand what you are going through.

How to deal with changes in your sexual life due to cancer treatment? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips for talking to your partner about sexual issues

Here are some tips for talking to your partner about sexual issues:

1. Be open and honest with each other. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is important to be open and honest with each other about how cancer and treatment are affecting your sex life.

2. Talk about your concerns and fears. It is important to share your concerns and fears with each other so that you can work together to find solutions.

3. Be patient with each other. Cancer and cancer treatment can be difficult time for both of you. It is important to be patient with each other as you adjust to the changes in your sexual relationship.

4. Seek help from a healthcare professional if needed. If you are having difficulty communicating or finding solutions on your own, seek help from a healthcare professional who can provide guidance and support.

How to maintain a positive sexual relationship during and after cancer treatment

It is common for cancer and cancer treatment to have an effect on sexuality and sex life. However, there are some strategies that can help maintain a positive sexual relationship during and after treatment.

Some of the most important things to remember are to communicate with your partner, be patient, and take things slowly. It is also important to find time for intimacy, even if it is just cuddling or holding hands. There are many ways to be intimate without having sex.

Also Read: 10 ways to build intimacy without indulging in sex

Find other ways to be physically intimate with your partner. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There are also some practical considerations, such as using lubrication if vaginal dryness is an issue, or trying different positions if fatigue or pain is a problem. It is also important to keep in mind that cancer treatment can affect libido, so it may be necessary to use medication or therapy to address this issue.

If you are experiencing any difficulties with sexuality or your sex life, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or a counsellor. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cancer and its treatments can have a huge impact on sexual functioning, desire and satisfaction. It is important to remember that these changes are often temporary, and there are support systems available to help manage them. With the right care team and supportive network, it is possible to make small or large adjustments to one’s sex life that will reduce discomfort or anxiety related to sexuality during cancer treatment. Ultimately, each person must find ways of coping with their own individual experiences as they navigate this difficult time in their lives.

Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit

Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit, Director-Medical Oncology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital ...Read More

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