Changes to Sex Life After Chemotherapy

Will I experience changes in my sex life after chemotherapy?

sex life after chemotherapyChemotherapy does affect sexual function. Dr. Madappa Kundranda talks about typical changes in a patient’s sex life after chemotherapy. In men the biggest concern is a decreased sexual appetite. There are several treatments used to improve libido, including testosterone and Viagra.

Women can experience dyspareunia, or painful sexual intercourse after chemotherapy. Dr. Madappa says pelvic floor exercises have been shown to be of benefit.

Video Transcripts

Madappa Kundranda, MD: One of the most common questions with regards to chemotherapy that I get is how chemotherapy affects sex life.

Unfortunately, yes chemotherapy does affect sexual function and it varies for men and women. In men, the biggest concerns with regards to the sex life is with regards to erectile dysfunction and with regards to decreased sexual appetite or libido. Now, there are several interventions that can be used to try to improve that, one of those is to improve libido, testosterone has been demonstrated to be very effective.

The second thing is with regards to erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil or Viagra has actually been shown to be about 80% effective in patients with erectile dysfunction on chemotherapy. These are things that need to be discussed with a healthcare provider and the medical oncologist in the context of all of this.

The second component of this is how does it affect women. In women, dyspareunia is one of those things which is painful sexual intercourse and that can be alleviated using certain topical measures such as using lubricants and the like. This is more common in patients who have had radiation to the pelvic organs, however some of the other techniques such as pelvic floor exercises and stuff like that have been shown to be of benefit. It needs to be kept in context that hence working with the team that works with patients who are treated with cancer is extremely important in either of these scenarios.

Madappa Kundranda
Dr. Madappa Kundranda obtained his medical degree from Bangalore University in India, before earning a PhD in cancer biology from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Dr. Kundranda next completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital. He then finished a hematology/oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. He is currently a medical oncologist with Western Regional Medical Center.

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