Sex After Uterine Cancer

If you have not yet experienced menopause, surgical removal of the ovaries will result in early menopause. Menopause, in some women, can be associated with symptoms like hot flashes, dry skin and dryness of the vagina, and possibly a decreased interest in sexual activity. Many women have reported that they have not experienced any of these symptoms following a hysterectomy.

In general, estrogen replacement therapy (a treatment often prescribed to treat the symptoms of menopause) will not be an option, because many physicians are concerned that estrogen therapy could cause a recurrence of your cancer. Lubricating gels (like KY jelly) can relieve the dryness of the vagina, which may cause irritation or discomfort during sexual activity.

Following a hysterectomy, your physician will tell you when it is safe to resume sexual activity. The usual time frame is four to eight weeks.

Women who undergo radiation therapy as a treatment for cancer of the uterus may notice that the vagina becomes narrower. This can cause sexual activity to become uncomfortable. Vaginal dilators may be necessary to gently stretch the vaginal muscle and prevent further constriction. Your physician or health care provider can instruct you in the use of a vaginal dilator.

Many women are nervous about resuming sexual activity following treatment for cancer of the uterus. Others experience feelings of loss, which make intimacy difficult. You may find counseling helpful, for both you and your partner. Your physician can help you find someone who is skilled in helping couples to deal with these sensitive issues.

External Resources

American Cancer Society. Endometrial Cancer Resource Center.
Homesley HD, Zaino R. Endometrial Cancer: prognostic factors. Seminars in Oncology.1994;2(1):71-78.
National Cancer Institute. CancerNet Database. Treatment summaries. Endometrial Cancer. PDQ 9/99
National Cancer Institute NIH Publication No.98-1562. Revised September 1997.