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Sex after cancer treatment

Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

I have been doing the vaginal dialator for about 2 week now. I do this everyday. My radiation onc gave me one and I seem to be doing a lot better. So, my boyfriend and I tried to have sex and it was extremely painful. Now I'm afraid to have sex again. My radiation onc told me to grin and bear it until I get use to it. Easy for him to say. My boyfriend is so understanding. Do I need to get a larger dialator? I have a small right now. I hope no one is offended by my post


sephie's picture
Posts: 649
Joined: Apr 2009

yes, you need to keep moving up in size with the dilator.....the entrance to vagina gets really tight..... stretch it... your radiation oncol. is horrible...  i am still afraid due to the pain... and i do keep trying....soo   give yourself more time....months even.....sephie

Posts: 379
Joined: Jan 2013

I second sephie's opinion about your rad onc.  No one should ever tell a woman to grin and bear it under any circumstances. Jeez, what century are we in?

Now, about the dilators.  Yes you should move up in size.  I used a small for one month and now use a medium (I'm 5 months post-treatment).  My rad onc asked me if I wanted to go up to large.  I'm thinking about it.  I'm not sexually active but I do want to be able to have a pelvic exam without too much pain.

Posts: 1267
Joined: Oct 2011

I agree also, "grin and bear it".......we have to bear alot of things with this cancer, but no one should expect us to be grinning throughout, especially a so called professional!

I did not receive my dilators from my doctor, but ordered them from "Vaginismus". The set came with 5 sizes. I was able to start with the 2nd and am currently using the 4th. I am 2yrs post treatment and occasionally try the largest size but is still pretty uncomfortable. Make sure you use plenty of water based lube as you gradually move up in size. Unfortunately this takes time and lots of patience, but things do improve. Sounds like you have a great boyfriend, thats wonderful to have his support.

Hoping things continue to improve.......

Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you all so much. I think I will order from Vaginismus. Yes, my rad onc is awful and he didn't educate me on different sizes of dialators. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't know what to do. You are all awesome!

Posts: 242
Joined: Feb 2011

Perhaps you can get a referral to subject specialists.  There is actually pelvic physical therapists who you can work with.   Graduated dialators are best.  K Y silk E is a great product. Hang in there.

sandysp's picture
Posts: 862
Joined: May 2011

What your Radiologist said really burns me up.

This whole thing about not being able to have sex because it is so painful needs to be more fully looked into. This can be a symptom of a known side affect from Pelvic Radiation.

I have Lymphedema. I would not have known I had it, had I not looked into getting better quicker so I could have sex. Then my attention was brought to the condition of my legs.

Now my legs look pretty normal but I still can't have sex.

I have genital lymphoedema. I believe I had primal lymphoedema which may have been hereditary, then the treatment aggravated this pre-existing condition and now I also have secondary lymphoedema.

I hope you and the others do not have this condition but if you do, you need to know sooner than later. It's a bigger deal than just needing to use dialators.

All the best,


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