Women undergoing chemotherapy for cancer will often experience symptoms of early menopause. Some chemotherapy medications irritate all mucous membranes in the body, including the lining of the vagina, which may become dry and inflamed.
Women who are receiving chemotherapy treatment often notice decreased sexual desire, upset stomach, tiredness and weakness. Also, patients tend to feel unattractive due to hair loss or weight changes. Among chemotherapy side effects, patients may also experience:
- Hot flashes
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal tightness
- Irregular or no menstrual periods
Many health professional recommend that women use vaginal dilators to help manage some of the side effects of chemotherapy. Vaginal dilators are used to gently stretch the vaginal tissue, gradually making it more elastic and flexible over time.
Did you know?
- Approximately 120,000 women younger than age 50 develop cancer each year in the United States
- The most common outcomes associated with chemotherapy are infertility and early menopause
- Chemotherapy usually results in loss of ovarian function for 75% women aged 35-40 and 95% of women over age 40
- After age 40, treatment-related menopause is more likely to be permanent