Thursday, December 01, 2011

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Ovarian Cancer and Sexuality

One of the least discussed and nonetheless most commonly experienced side effects of ovarian cancer treatments are sexual problems. Many a patient is in a meaningful relationship of which sex was a normal part. Suddenly the fear that is experienced because of the ovarian cancer diagnosis will remove sexual desire and both partners are seeking for help, treatment options, and also suitable facilities. Over time, the treatment itself will contribute nausea, pain, extreme tiredness, and also external image changes to the equation and before long ovarian cancer and sexuality appear to be mutually exclusive.

To get a firmer grasp on what is happening to your body and also to help you share this information with your partners, here are some of the most commonly experienced sexual side effects:

Chemotherapy has been known to greatly interfere with hormone balances in your body. This of course directly affects your sexual desire and you will find that you no longer have the urges to engage in intercourse or other sexual activity. This has nothing to do with your partner, their appearance, or their demeanor but it is a simple side effect brought on by the drugs that are supposed to kill your cancer cells and keep them from spreading through the other tissues of your body.

Radiation therapy is known to adversely affect the mucous layers of the vagina and thus intercourse that was previously pleasurable is now a most painful experience. Once again, this is has nothing to do with your partner but it has everything to do with the treatment you are undergoing.

Ovarian cancer necessitates a removal of the ovaries and this will trigger a bodily response akin to early menopause. Much like more mature women who know to expect hot flashes, vaginal dryness, extreme mood swings, and other such symptoms, even younger women who never gave a second thought to these symptoms must now cope with them and their sudden onset. This of course will greatly affect your sex life not only with respect to the feelings you are experiencing, but also because of the physical pain and discomfort that suddenly accompanies sexual activity.

Occasionally ovarian cancer and sexuality intersect because of personal hang-ups. You may suddenly no longer feel like a complete woman because your reproductive organs have been removed. In the same vein, you may consider yourself much less desirable or even damaged goods, especially if you are young. Only intense psychological counseling has the power to assist you in your fight to reclaim your sexuality at this point and not even the most understanding and loving partner has the power to help you change such a self destructive perception.

Fortunately, help is available to patients undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer and sexuality dysfunction as well as other problems. Do not suffer needlessly but instead ask your doctor for a referral to a trained therapist who specializes in human sexuality. Additionally, your ovarian cancer support group may be a most useful tool at this time!

By: Sandeey Usher

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