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Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness

Posted by CatherineS on Jan 8, 2021 6:50 am

I know, this looks like a fun topic, doesn't it?
I've been struggling with this for a few months and wonder if anyone else has experience with it. I don't want to use the estrogen cream because of... well, cancer, and am not having much luck otherwise. It's apparently a not uncommon offshoot of chemo, which no one mentioned before I went through with the damned thing. If I had known... Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by Kims1961 on Jan 8, 2021 5:14 pm

Great question....and yes, so hard to discuss it seems. Even for those who haven't had cancer treatment, vaginal dryness is a tough side effect of menopause as well.

I found this pamphlet quite helpful from CCS: Sex, Intimacy and Cancer.

https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/publications/Sex%20intimacy%20and%20cancer/32061-1-NO.pdf

It mentions using a water or silicone based lubricant that you can find in any drug store.  That's where i realized we are not alone is this misery!

I found St. Francis Herb Farm - Cala-Gel really easy to use .  You may want to just double check with your oncologist to be sure any product is approved - to be on the safe side.

The other good news, is that it does improve - slowly in my case - as treatment ended.

Thanks for posting such an important question!  Good luck, Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by JenDavid on Jan 9, 2021 7:48 am

Oh boy can I relate to this one! I was triple positive, has a left breast mastectomy. Had chemo and now on Tamoxifen for 5 years. This put me chemically into menopause. What a shock! (I'm 49). I've tried all kinds of non-estrogen creams too. Finally went to see a pelvic floor physio and my naturopath. Two things have been somewhat helpful. One is called Slippery Stuff. Water based gel lubricant. Best one I've ever tried.

And my naturopath ordered me vitamin e suppositories. This was also helpful to me. Here's a link to a study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5114791/

You are definitely not alone! I find it's annoying but manageable! Good luck.

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by ashcon on Jan 9, 2021 9:41 am

CatherineS
Just before starting chemo, I recall reading about this in a pamphlet I was given about chemo side effects, but remember thinking, "sex is the last thing on my mind right now. I'm just focused on surviving!" 

It's been 3 yrs since I finished chemo and the problem seems to be abating.  
I know that seems like an interminably long time, but there are great interim suggestions here for lubricants!
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by Cedar on Jan 9, 2021 11:42 am

CatherineS‍ When I was facing Brachytherapy for Uterine Cancer a year ago, someone on this site suggested a product called Repa-Gyn. This is a capsule you insert overnight and is available online. I checked with my oncologist at the time to see if it would be safe to use, and she said yes, if I needed it. I didn't end up getting any, as the water-based lubricants seemed sufficient for me.

Lorna

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by cinderella1 on Jan 9, 2021 1:12 pm

CatherineS‍ Hey Catherine sorry you are going through this side effect of chemo. I also had vaginal dryness after my first dose of chemo. My oncologist recommended Replense(@shoppers) I used it every day with chemo, now maybe 3/4 times a week. My last dose of chemo was Oct. and I am still experiencing vaginal dryness, burning etc. Shoppers also sells a vaginal wash instead of using soap as soap is an irritant. I couldn’t use epsom in my bath or any soap with perfume...I use plain glycerin soap. Hope you feel better and I hope this helps.
Cindy

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by Essjay on Jan 9, 2021 1:26 pm

CatherineS‍ - some great advice on lubricants - I can vouch for Repagyn which is hormone free. 
I have been referred to a menopause specialist who works with cancer patients. I haven’t had my consult with her yet, but in the meantime, the gynaecologist I spoke to in a phone consult was amazing. He listened to me as I set out my concerns about my vaginal health for the future and what I had read of the potential problems I could face. And we talked about intimacy and sex - his words ‘you are very young, and unlike your oncologist, I think you should be able to have a healthy sex life’. There are gels and inserts that release estrogen locally, plumping up the tissues that need them but not entering the blood stream, some stay in for 3 months and are much less messy than creams. You need to be monitored on them, but gynaecologists know more about these than oncologists. 

Thanks for posting - it’s a really important topic as we get our lives back together again xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Vaginal dryness

Posted by CatherineS on Jan 9, 2021 1:44 pm

Thanks for the replies. I tried Replens and it burned me terribly. My gp recommended zinc oxide cream as I don't want to go the hormone cream route, and I was using it in conjunction with Cortate cream but, again, cortisone shouldn't be used long term. Yesterday I started squeezing out vitamin E capsules and have found some relief there, but definitely need help. Gp put through a request to see a gynecologist but said it's tough to see anyone right now...😒. Definitely need to see an expert in the area.