Women’s experiences of sexuality after treatment for cervical cancer: a qualitative study

Women’s experiences of sexuality after treatment for cervical cancer: a qualitative study

2011-11-01 00:00:00

One treatment, brachytherapy (repeated, direct radiation to the cervix), was identified as having especially negative impacts on sexuality. Women described ongoing pain and bleeding with sexual intercourse and were reminded of the pain of treatment when engaging in intimate contacts. Lack of desire and pleasure were common, with most participants saying they would prefer not to engage in sex at all. Women in long term relationships, however, all engaged in sexual activity, citing partner needs as their motivation. Only one woman in the study considered forms of sexual pleasuring other than intercourse. No others were prepared to consider alternatives to vaginal intercourse for sexual pleasuring. All women saw intercourse as a necessary goal of sexual intimacy. While most partners were described as patient and understanding, some long-term relationships were terminated due to the strain of the experience. Although health providers were understanding and helpful, they were not equipped to deal with the sexual problems of these women.
Recommendations: Better information, counseling, therapy and support are needed to help women renew their positive connections with their sexuality after cervical cancer treatment.

Conference: Demo
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