This is another recurring topic on this blog, but probably one that everyone is glad to see. The bottom lines continue to be the same: a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment never improved anyone's sex life, intimacy always suffers for a while, almost always, things eventually get better, but may never be as good as they were before cancer.
http://community.breastcancer.org/blog/sex-matters-vaginal-dryness/ The reasons for the common decline are several: cancer treatment frequently throws women into (early) menopause, and we then have to deal with the common related issues that otherwise would have been avoided for some years, body image and a sense of sexy womanliness often suffers due to surgical changes and temporary hair loss and weight gain, and the whole experience just sobers us up.
Here is a good essay from breastcancer.org; I give you the start and a link. And a reminder that if you want my two page handout about possible helpful products, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many women who have treatment for breast cancer develop early menopause or report
that their menstrual cycles have stopped for 12 months in a row. Most women recognize
that hot flashes and mood changes are associated with the menopause, but they don’t
always identify vaginal dryness and painful sex as part of the constellation of symptoms
they are experiencing as they move through the menopausal years.
Whether you’ve stopped your cycle as a direct result of chemotherapy or removal of your
ovaries, or you have gone through menopause naturally, vaginal dryness can interfere with
your quality of life.
When women transition through menopause, the level of estrogen in the body drops
substantially. This lowered hormone level can affect the vaginal lining and cause thinning
of the vulvar walls – vaginal atrophy. The vagina is very sensitive to estrogen levels, and
when this declines, the lining can become thin, frail, pale, and less elastic. Common
symptoms of vaginal dryness include irritation, pain, discharge, burning, and itchiness. In
addition, many women may also suffer from painful intercourse, recurrent urinary
infections, or repeat candida or bacterial vaginosis infections. The underlying problem
may be an abnormal vaginal PH. With menopause and the decline or loss of estrogen, the
vaginal PH may be altered, leading to all of these troublesome issues.