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My poor tiny vaginy

Starleen
Posts: 40
Joined: Feb 2007

Bein' frank here. Two years out from a stage III DX. All clear so far after chemo, radiation, surgery, and more chemo. Radiation destroyed my vagina! It's as rigid, narrow, and dry as a pencil. It killed my ovaries, so I'm in menopause. I'm only 41. They gave me "stints" to use with estrogen cream, but I can't get myself to use them. I don't even want to try. My desire has been sapped, and the thought of sticking something up there makes me cringe.

Anyone else go through this? What did you do?

pamysue's picture
pamysue
Posts: 105
Joined: May 2008

I am so, so sorry for you. I did not have radiation (my decision) so I do not know what you are going through. Are you close with your ob/gyn? Can you talk with him/her about this?

OK, going to be graphic here, hope that's ok. Maybe just lay down with some KY and see with your hand what you can/cannot endure? Have a glass of wine first, if you can have alcohol. Whatever relaxes you. Take back your body. It's not the one we had before, but it is still YOUR body.

I hope so much you find your way through this.

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

I did have radiation just as you did. I am only 36 and am probley in menopause also, we will know for sure when we check my hormone levels when my chemo is done, but when they were checked last they were within menopause range. KY will help with the dryness. The radiation oncology clinic gave me dilators to use, I have never used them. Hope this doesn't offend anyone, but I'll tell you my story as it is. Had sex when the radiation was over and it didn't bother me at all and to be honest haven't thought about it much since I had surgery and reovery and now back on chemo, so I don't know if I had after effects or not. Poor husband heh. LOL I just don't have the interest right now. being 2 yrs out of treatment, you may need dilators to help with the stretching, I know it is not appealing to you, I don't think it is to anyone, but that may be the only way to make things comfortable. Sorry I don't have any other fixes for you, I don't think there is a easy fix. Just lovely heh.. Take Care Petrina

polarprincess
Posts: 210
Joined: Aug 2008

yes i have had the same issues, and radiation oncs tend to be very poor at warning patients of this potential problem. I learned about it from the colonclub.com and knew that i would have to use dilators probably for the rest of my life. I definitely have stenosis and feared i would never again have any kind of sex life. i am 43 and i am in menopause as well. I will not take hormones as i fear it leading to another cancer. There is another product however called Replens that studies show is just as effective as premarin cream in producing moisture so you are no longer dry in that area. it is over the counter and can be bought at target or walmart for around 12 dollars a box. i used it every 2-3 days and it has made a huge difference. Although i still have difficulty with intimacy in the missionary position i have found it goes really well in other positions..and things are close to being back to normal.
You have to start with the smallest dilator and work your way up to a bigger one, and there are also specialists who can help you with a kind of physical therapy to work the tissues etc...good luck and don't give up!! check out the replens website and read up on it-- there is lots of info there!! Ky also has a product called liquibeads but i haven't tried that one yet..

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Being blunt again. I have not had radiation but my onc said I may experience a dry tight vagina and if I didn't keep it stretched out it could lead to painful sex. Soooooo.... got the KY and went to town...lol...well, not really to town.... stayed at my house with the hubby. He is in heaven over his new found virgin. When he is not available BOB (battery operated boyfriend) comes over. I am so sorry for being so blunt but that is what goes on in my crib.

Jennie

WinneyPooh's picture
WinneyPooh
Posts: 318
Joined: Jul 2009

I AM NEWLY DX, BUT MY LARGEST TUMOR IS IN MY RECTUM, AND SEX HAS BEEN PAINFULL FOR SOMETIME , HUBBY LIKE A MORE ACTIVE SEX LIFE, VERY HARD FOR HIM TO UNDERSTAND, BUT HE IS FAITHFUL AND DOES UNDERSTAND, NAKED PLAYTIME ONLY FOR NOW.
I WAS SCHEDULED FOR RADIATION, NOW YOU ALL HAVE ME WORRIED , SHOULD I AVIOD THIS AND DO MORE CHEMO, I AM 44 AND DO NONOT WANT THE RESULTS YOU ALL HAVE, WAS KIND OF HOPING THING WOULD TURN AROUND AND SEX WOULD BE GOOD AGAIN.
WHATS YOUR THOUGHTS?
HUGS AND PRAYERS

WINNEY

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Oh Winney..... I think you should do whatever your onc says to do..... sex is on the back burner for now.... and perhaps for quite some time. Talk to your onc about this. As you indicated... your husband is faithful and there are other ways to reach orgasm without penetration.

Jennie

johnnybegood's picture
johnnybegood
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

i also have this prblem but have always been to scared to bring it up on this board.i am 45 was dx at stage 3 when i was 44.have not had sex in a year.i was already going thru menopause before the radiation and it just sped things up.i miss being with my husband but to afraid to try anything.i have also lost some desire.also i am afraid if we try the presure will push out some poo and boy would that be romantic.i just dont know what to do and i am glad to see i am not the only one who has this problem.my husband is understanding but even so i know it bothers him.thanks for posting this thread i feel better that i have talked about this subject.good luck to all.Godbless.....johnnybegood

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

I had anal cancer so I did the radiation thing for 6 weeks. There was no way I was going to use a dilator when I was in so much pain. I probably should have. Now I use premarin cream and a silicone type lubricant when using the dilators. I have found that water based lubricants dry up too quickly. I am improving but it is taking time. Hope this helps!

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I received radiation and was told by my radiologist that I didn't have vaginal stenosis. I went to a gynecologist and he said I have vaginal shortening. Seems like right after my resection sex was very uncomfortable and I stopped trying to do anything when I was receiving radiation. I'm not able to have intercourse. I was told to use dialators and vagifem. Seems like when I try and start using this I get sore and stop and them I'm afraid to start in again. Does anyone know if after 18 months you can get the vagina to open up again? Thank God my husband is very understanding. Has anyone went back to normal after tightening up?

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6652
Joined: Feb 2009

I too have problems with the vagina. My first issue, is I tear at the vagina when he tries so it's just too painful for him to continue, then it takes a good two weeks of putting neosporin on it so that it heals. My radiation doctor wanted me to go to a gyn, but I'm still going through chemo and I thought uggg one more doctor, one more thing to do or worry about. I do have a dilator and have only used it a couple times. It seems to go in ok, but I don't use it like I'm supposed to. I'm thinking when the chemo is done, this is another hurdle to face. I'm glad my husband is understanding. Colorectal cancer sure messes with many parts of your body. I'm afraid to use the estrogen cream due to a risk in getting another cancer too. Any other opinions.

Kim

lesvanb's picture
lesvanb
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

Thank you Starleen for starting this frank subject. I am one year from DX stage 4 rectal (so far NED). Sex has been so far from my thoughts for so long, especially penetration. Hubby has been understanding but is not a talkative person nor a very affectionate person physically. However, he has been a solid support for me through all this. I have worried about all that has been mentioned–dryness, shortening, narrowing and have just recently started to address it. Thanks for the comment from someone about taking back our bodies! It came to a head when my GP asked whether my oncologist had said whether there would be any issues with a vaginal exam because of the radiation I'd received. My medical oncologist says I should not have any weakening of the vaginal walls. My radiation oncologist has not addressed the issues. So with the help of my close girlfriend's support and encouragement, I have explored lubes (I agree water-based evaporate too quickly) and starting with a very narrow dildo (frankness again!). So far so good and have noticed that the elasticity of the vaginal walls has been improving. Thank you ladies for your willingness to discuss everything that affects us after treatment!

Leslie

nudgie's picture
nudgie
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

this is a good comment, especially for the women on the board. I too was NOT interested in having sex whatoever while going through treatments, but did my best to satisfy hubby orally.

Chemo did not cause my vagina issues, I was born with them. I have always been small. I remember my first Pap Test. My WONDERFUL GYN had to use the "smallest" instrument to take the tissue and that still was very uncomfortable. To this day, Pap Tests are very, very uncomfortable for me, basically painful. Last year, my GYN was trying to put in the silver prong things (forgot name) and indicated he could not find the cervical opening. It has turned or ran and hid.

Having intercourse can sometimes be uncomfortable or painful, depending upon position, but it is something I have grown to live with over our 26+yrs of marriage.

Mouse88
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2009

I have been complaining about how much everything shrunk from radiation and how painful having a pap smear is, and nobody - none of my doctors - has had any sort of helpful advice for me about what I could do to make it better. I am going in for a pelvic ultrasound on Monday, and all the help I have been given it "take 2 zantac and 0ne vicoden before you get there so it won't hurt! What kind of help is that! You mean there are things I could do to stretch myself out again?

I had colo-rectal cancer, diagnosed in 2007 - spread to lung. I have gone through 2 surgeries, radiation, and chemo.

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