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brachytherapy and sex

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2005

Chapter one. Feel free to read my more complete history. I had a complete hysterectomy in February '05. I had three internal high dose radiation treatments in April as follow-up. Although I found the radiation treatments intrusive and uncomfortable, they were not actually painful, and I seemed to have very few lasting side effects. I was given a plastic vaginal dilator and told to use it three times per week (for the rest of my life) and sent on my way. I understand the reason for the dilator is that the radiated part of your vagina undergoes structual damage and kind of shrinks together. It also becomes less elastic.

Chapter two. My husband and I have been at least minimally sexually active during most of the last six months. Blessedly, interest and arousal don't seem to be problems for me. Even lubrication still seems fine. But we had not tried actual intercourse since the radiation treatments (tenderness plus other unrelated circumstances) and I was really distressed to find that it actually hurt when we tried it. This seems due to a more limited vagina--either the sheer length or its elasticity, or both. My husband and I are patient and flexible, but this is so discouraging after all the trauma of the last six months. I want to feel hopeful. Has anyone experienced this and what have you done and how has it turned out?

(I'm willing to hear any story, but if you are going to tell me my sex life is at an end, refrain . . . )

Nanz1's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2004

I also had brachytherapy. I read your message a long time ago but was hesitant to write back because I didn't want to stress you in any way. But I realize that I have positive things to say to you. Now..... I am in my 50's and had total pelvic radition as well as internal so anyway. I can say that there was a time when sex hurt some but that time passed. I think the good news is the more frequent (and gentle at first), the better. It gets better not worse. Your sex life is not over. I bet that by the time you read this, you will already know that.


Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2005

I too had pain at first, but with consideration and gentleness on my husband's part, the pain gradually went away and now I don't have a problem.

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