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After Surgery & Healing - Intercourse

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2009

I had my radiation treatments prior to surgery -worked well, killed all but one teeny cell. after two months of healing, dr OKd intimacy again. However, experience bleeding, pain, uncomfortably not fun. Is this normal? Anyone else have similar experiences?

Posts: 572
Joined: Oct 2009

You are amongst friends with changes "down there". Your experience is not uncommon. Did your radiation oncologist provide you with a vaginal dialator? They should have given you one and instructed you to use it every day during the period that you weren't able to be sexually active. The dialator helps to prevent scar tissue development inside your vagina. Scar tissue apparently can grow very quickly after radiation. I use my dialator almost every day for 5 to 10 minutes. Lubrication is critical. Astroglide is a product which doesn't have petroleum product in it. KY Jelly is also recommended as a lubricant. Without our normal hormones we likely would have vaginal dryness even without the radiation.
Question: How would the doctor know if there was one cell with cancer in it?

norma2's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Sorry you had this difficulty. Having uterine cancer has unique challeges, doesn't it? I remember thinking this is a heck of a place to have cancer. And the first time we had intercourse after my surgery I used so much KY that we had to buy more the next day. I was afraid I would slide off of the bed. If this is too graphic I apologize. Just want to help, if I can. And maybe bring a smile to your face. I know this is a hard time for you. And seems like your doctor needs to know about the bleeding and pain. I experience some pain, and use the breathing excercises I learned in natural child birth classes to help me relax. The Kegel excercise is a good one for strengthening the muscles in that area after surgery. Tightening and relaxing the muscles a few times a day. Pratice by stopping and starting your stream of urine when voiding. That is the set of muscles you want to isolate and strengthen.

Ask your doctor if you can take a sitz bath. I have burning when I urinate still. Doc said it will eventually go away. Perhaps relaxing in a warm sitz bath before intercourse if it is ok for you medically may help. I love my sitz bath it is the bomb.

I hope some of this helped you and things get better soon. Best regards, Norma

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I had 28 rounds of IMRT external pelvic radiation and 3 internal brachys and am 100% back to normal now sexually, never with any pain or bleeding. BUT, I faithfully use a dilator every single day and I think that makes all the difference. It's no big deal, no worse or wierd than inserting a tampon, and I just lubricate it and insert it and doze off for another 10 minutes each morning. If my husband comes back from his morning shower with a gleam in his eye, I'm all ready to go! (blush)

Don't let cancer cheat you out of satisfying intimacy (and I can't imagine how pain and bleeding could be much fun). Please ask for a dilator and use it faithfully to keep the scar tissue from forming and also to gradually lengthen and widen the vagina to pre-surgery/treatment size. You won't regret it.

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2009

thank you ladies! The doc did give me a dilator after radiation wrapped up, but I didn't need it. I did not have any issues enjoying sex after radiation. It was about 6 weeks after radiation that I had my surgery. I didn't think to use the dialator after surgery.

I will try the dilator beginning tonight and see if that helps. thank you all for your responses. I've also been doing the keigal (sp) since about a week after surgery - it helped me feel my bladder again. Slowly but surely I'm getting back to normal.

thanks for making me laugh, too!

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