Vaginal Dryness: Breast Cancer and the Effects of Chemotherapy and Hormonal Therapy

If you’re currently undergoing, or have recently completed, breast cancer treatments then you already know that with chemo and hormonal therapy comes a long list of side-effects.

Many recovering breast cancer patients are unexpectedly plagued with the discomfort of vaginal dryness. 

Not only is this highly uncomfortable as you go about your daily activities, but it makes sex not only unappealing but downright painful.

Oftentimes the solution is solved with one simple method, while other times you may need to try more than one product to overcome vaginal dryness. But don’t worry, along with the science, we’ll share the solution.

So, what can you do about vaginal dryness? Breast cancer survivors, read on.

Table of Contents

Why Breast Cancer Treatments Cause Vaginal Atrophy

Some of the side effects of your breast cancer treatment you may have expected, or were explained to you by your oncologist, while others … 

Well, let’s just say the doctors don’t always tell us everything.

Vaginal atrophy, or vaginal dryness, is a thinning and drying of the lining of the vaginal walls. It can develop when a woman experiences a significant drop in estrogen levels.

Estrogen is produced by the ovaries and plays an important role in keeping the vaginal tissues well lubricated and healthy.

But, when estrogen levels are reduced the vaginal tissues can become atrophic — dry, shrunken, and thin.

While commonly known as a symptom of menopause, for breast cancer patients, vaginal dryness occurs as a direct result of either chemotherapy and radiation treatments or hormonal therapy treatments. Or a combination of both.

Chiavaye offers an all natural solution to vaginal atrophy and dryness as a result of your breast cancer treatments. 

Because … 

Let’s be real here no one wants to deal with the discomfort of vaginal dryness among the countless other symptoms experienced by cancer survivors.

Chemotherapy and Vaginal Dryness

In many cases, chemotherapy for breast cancer can cause the symptoms of menopause as a result of the damage caused to the ovaries — the main producers of estrogen.

Symptoms of perimenopause or early menopause caused by chemotherapy include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Urinary problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Menstrual cycle changes

When triggered by chemotherapy, menopausal symptoms may be immediate or delayed, temporary or permanent, and could last for years following treatment.

Hormonal Therapy and Vaginal Dryness

Many types of breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, which means the cells have proteins for either estrogen or progesterone which will help them grow and spread.

What hormone therapy does is either lower estrogen levels or simply stop estrogen from attacking breast cancer cells.

Typical drugs used for hormone therapy in breast cancer patients include ...

  • Tamoxifen or Toremifene
  • Fulvestrant; and
  • Aromatase inhibitors

… but, it’s the Tamoxifen or Toremifene that are most likely to cause vaginal dryness.

What Can You Do To Get Vaginal Dryness Relief?

Vaginal dryness can cause daily discomfort, make sex painful, and result in both physical and emotional pain.

With so many symptoms and side-effects of breast cancer and its treatments, finding vaginal dryness relief is critical to the overall healing process.

Vaginal Dryness Treatments

Multiple treatments are available for vaginal dryness, and depending on the severity of the atrophy, you may require more than one treatment to find relief.

Natural Lubricant for Vaginal Dryness

As a good first choice, a quality natural lubricant for vaginal dryness applied in the morning and at night is often enough to provide much-needed relief.

Over-the-counter lubricants are available in droves and it can be downright overwhelming to try and choose from the never-ending selection.

After cancer treatments, your body is especially sensitive to ...

  • Chemicals
  • Parabens
  • Hormones
  • Fragrances
  • Petroleum
  • Sugar

… and other toxic ingredients and fillers.

A quality natural lubricant for vaginal dryness won’t have any of the above ingredients. Instead, it should consist of ingredients that nourish your most delicate skin.

Chiavaye was formulated using only six natural ingredients and is proud to be:

  • All-natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO
  • Chemical-free
  • pH balanced
  • Hormone-free, and
  • Fragrance-free

Vaginal skin is absorbent, and following cancer treatments, it’s crucial to take caution and avoid toxic ingredients.

Vaginal Dilators

Vaginal dilators are a non-hormonal treatment that stretches and stimulates the vaginal walls to help reverse the atrophy of the vagina.

Combined with a natural lubricant, vaginal dilator therapy helps to keep the elasticity of your vagina and prevent further atrophy.

Vaginal dilators will help:

  • Your doctor do a full pelvic exam
  • Make pelvic exams less painful
  • Decrease discomfort during sexual activity

Talk to your doctor about whether vaginal dilator therapy is right for you.

Vaginal Estrogen

If non-hormonal treatments are ineffective, your oncologist may recommend a low dose vaginal estrogen.

Vaginal estrogens, even in low doses, can pose a potential threat by increasing the chances of the cancer coming back.

If your breast cancer was hormonally sensitive, vaginal estrogens are likely not a good idea for the treatment of vaginal dryness. 

If possible, stick to natural vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, and if needed, vaginal dilator therapy to reduce overall dryness and discomfort.

Sex During Breast Cancer Treatments: How Vaginal Dryness Can Cause Physical and Emotional Pain

Sex, both during and after chemotherapy treatments can be a sensitive topic and one that can cause emotional pain for couples.

In addition to a decreased sex drive, damaged vaginal tissue can make sex physically painful and even cause bleeding or tearing of the vaginal walls.

Common intimacy challenges faced by couples during breast cancer treatments include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty coping with changes to the body
  • Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido
  • Inability to orgasm

Although it may feel uncomfortable to talk about sex-related discomforts and concerns, you’re not likely to find a solution if you don’t open up to your partner or healthcare provider about what you’re experiencing.

Can I Have Sex During My Cancer Treatments?

During treatment for breast cancer, sex should be avoided when blood counts are low as the risk of infection is high.

Sex should also be avoided if sores are present in either the mouth, vagina, or rectal area.

However, when your physical condition permits sexual activity, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your doctor for all sex-related concerns during your recovery.

Even if you’re medically ready to have sexual intercourse, you may find that you don’t have the energy or desire. Talk to your partner about other ways to enjoy each other intimately if you’re not ready for sex. 

This could include:

  • Cuddling
  • Massage
  • Kissing
  • Touching and caressing

Talk about what feels good, what doesn’t, and keep an open mind. Together with your partner, you may discover new ways to enjoy intimacy until your sexual desire returns.

Body Image Concerns After Cancer Treatment

It’s normal for women to experience emotional setbacks due to changes to the body and sexual health.

Here are some tips to improve body image concerns:

  • Get some light exercise every day.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Dress in clothing that flatters your body.
  • Learn some makeup techniques to manage side effects like facial hair loss and skin discoloration.
  • After a mastectomy, wear undergarments that help you regain your shape.

If needed, talk to other cancer survivors. Your health care team will be able to assist you in finding a support group near you.

Making Sex Less Painful During Cancer Therapy

When you’re ready to resume sexual activity, take it slow and ease into your first time. 

You could try setting the mood with a romantic dinner, candlelight, or music. 

Relax and don’t pressure yourself.

Vaginal dryness can greatly reduce the joy of intimacy and even make sexual intercourse painful.

When the time comes, a quality natural lubricant should be applied to avoid the physical pain and discomfort caused by vaginal atrophy.

Chiavaye: The Best Lubricant for Vaginal Dryness

Chiavaye was formulated with one thing in mind — female wellness.

What makes Chiavaye so amazing is simple. Formulated using only six ingredients, specifically chosen for your most delicate skin, Chiavaye leaves out all the junk and chemicals found in many over-the-counter lubricants.

Chiavaye is for all women, whether you’re experiencing …

  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Menopause
  • Endometriosis
  • Painful intercourse

… or you’re just looking for a lubricant for intimacy, Chiavaye’s mission is to make sexuality about female health and wellness.

Endorsed by Dr. Barb DePree, M.D. as a recommended lubricant and personal moisturizer to use after chemo or cancer, Chiavaye is committed to helping women when it counts the most.

Skip the chemicals and toxins and click here to order the best natural lubricant for vaginal dryness.

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