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Intimate life after cancer: navigating fertility and sexual health


Flowers at cancer survivor home who is dealing with intimate life issues. This cancer patient used the after cancer clinic to help her navigate with her fertility and sexual health issues.

Cancer and its treatments can have a significant impact on a person's intimate life, including fertility and sexual health. Many cancer survivors report changes in their sexual function, such as erectile dysfunction or painful intercourse, as well as concerns about their ability to have children after treatment. However, it's important to know that there are options and resources available to help navigate these challenges.


Fertility after cancer

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can damage the reproductive organs and affect fertility in both men and women. However, advances in reproductive medicine have made it possible for many cancer survivors to have biological children after treatment. Fertility preservation options, such as sperm and egg freezing, embryo freezing, and ovarian tissue preservation, are available for individuals who wish to preserve their fertility before cancer treatment.

For those who did not preserve their fertility before treatment, there are still options available. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies can help individuals and couples conceive after cancer treatment. Adoption and surrogacy are also options for building a family after cancer.


Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, or the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse, is a common concern among male cancer survivors. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by cancer treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy, as well as psychological factors such as anxiety and depression.

There are various treatments available for erectile dysfunction, including oral medications, vacuum erection devices, penile injections, and penile implants. Talking to a healthcare provider or a urologist can help determine the best treatment option for an individual's needs.


Cancer and impotence

In addition to erectile dysfunction, some cancer survivors may also experience decreased sexual desire or decreased sexual satisfaction. These changes can be caused by physical changes to the body, as well as psychological factors such as anxiety and depression.

Counseling and therapy can help individuals and couples navigate these changes and find ways to maintain intimacy and connection. Open communication and a willingness to explore new ways of being intimate can also be helpful.


Getting pregnant after chemo

Chemotherapy can cause temporary or permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, leading to difficulty getting pregnant after treatment. The extent of the damage depends on the type of chemotherapy and the woman's age at the time of treatment.

If a woman is interested in getting pregnant after chemotherapy, she should talk to her healthcare provider about her fertility preservation options before treatment. If she did not preserve her fertility before treatment, there are still options available. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies can help women conceive after chemotherapy.


Conclusion

Cancer and its treatments can have a significant impact on a person's intimate life, but there are resources and options available to help navigate these challenges. Fertility preservation options, treatments for erectile dysfunction, and counseling can all play a role in helping cancer survivors maintain their sexual health and build families after treatment. It's important to talk to a healthcare provider or a specialist in reproductive medicine to explore these options and find the best approach for each individual's needs.

 

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