Published July 2019
Managing vaginal dryness post-cancer treatment
A common misconception about vulval or vaginal dryness is that it only occurs in the later stages of a woman’s life, often associated with the menopause. When in fact, women of any age can experience this unwanted symptom, whether this is due to medication, diabetes breastfeeding, or even cancer treatment.
What causes vaginal dryness post-cancer treatment?
Oestrogen is the hormone produced by the ovaries and is responsible for maintaining the vagina’s natural lubrication and elasticity, this production is ceased at the menopause.
In pre-menopausal women some cancer treatments, chemotherapy, pelvic radiation or surgery, can cause the body to enter an early menopause. Some therapies, such as endocrine therapy may not cause an early menopause but the anti-oestrogenic activity may result in menopausal symptoms. Depending on the cancer diagnosis other women who have already gone through the menopause may be advised to stop taking their HRT so their menopausal symptoms may return.
Therefore one of the unintended consequences of these treatments is vaginal irritation and dryness as the vaginal tissues become thinner, less flexible and dehydrated. This can result in daily irritation, distress and discomfort and will result in sex being painful.’
Managing vaginal dryness post-cancer treatment
The BMS (British Menopause Society) recently released a consensus statement on the management of oestrogen deficiency symptoms in women treated for early breast cancer. The article in The Journal of the BMS, Post Reproductive Health, advised that first line treatment for vaginal dryness should be a vaginal moisturiser or lubricant and that this should be offered to a patient before any other treatments are considered. The BMS also recommends that the moisturiser or lubricant given should not contain parabens due to their weak oestrogenic activity; KY, Replens and Astroglide are mentioned as examples of products that contain parabens and so should be avoided.
YES & post-cancer treatment
It’s natural that many patients, post-treatment, will be mindful about what they are putting in or on their bodies. YES products are formulated from plant extracts and only contain the purest natural ingredients, certified organic by The Soil Association. Free from hormones, glycerine, parabens and endocrine disruptors, the range is also safe to use to manage side effects of treatment, for those with hormone sensitive conditions.
Which product should I use?
YES products work to protect, nourish and moisturise delicate or traumatised intimate tissues. As recommended by the BMS, a vaginal moisturiser or lubricant should be used to relieve vaginal dryness. YES VM vaginal moisturiser is a long-lasting, water-based gel designed to relieve discomfort and replenish daily moisture. YES WB water-based lubricant and YES OB plant-oil based lubricant are ideal to provide comfort during intercourse. All three products are available in tubes and packs of single-use applicators. Both YES WB and YES OB lubricants are suitable for use with vaginal dilators or vibrators when this is part of the recovery programme. If you’d like to try WB, OB or VM before making a purchase, we offer free sample sachets to customers on request. Either call the office to place a sample request or follow this link to make a request online. For an honest account on life after a breast cancer diagnosis, follow this link to read guest blogger, Hannah Cosham’s experience discovering YES.
Did you know that YES WB and YES VM are both available on UK NHS prescription? Follow this link for more information on how your GP can prescribe YES.
We also offer a 10% discount for life on all YES products to support woman with cancer. To claim this discount simply quote code LV3 online or over the phone.
Don’t just take our word for it…
Here’s a selection of our customer testimonials and professional endorsements:
“This is really a great product! I have tried both the water and oil based formulas and enjoy them both. It was such a relief to find a product free of hormones, parabens and other irritating and harmful ingredients. I am an ovarian cancer survivor so this was very important to me.” YES customer.
“Love it! It’s saved my sex life after a hysterectomy and also being on Tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment.” YES customer.
“Having had a hormone responsive cancer and side effects from treatment the hypoallergenic, no parabens, no petrochemicals and natural ingredients are all important to me also. This product has made a substantial difference to the quality of my life physically and emotionally.” YES customer.
“After a hysterectomy and cancer treatments, I found that I had absolutely no natural moisture anymore and that everything I bought burned me terribly. I’m so thankful to have found YES because it doesn’t burn at all and it works so well!” YES customer.
Dr Tracie Miles – Lead Gynaecology Oncology Nurse Specialist. Past President of the National Forum of Gynaecological Oncology Nurses
“Women undergoing treatment for cancer may experience unwanted changes to their vaginal mucosa. Uncomfortable and sometimes painful vaginal dryness is one commonly reported symptom of treatment. YES moisturising lubricant can be used safely and with confidence by women to ameliorate these distressing symptoms and to restore comfort. YES lubricants can also be used to help ease applicator insertion for vaginal brachytherapy. My patients report a preference for a non-medical lubricant to support the use of vaginal dilators as part of sexual survivorship, following the physical and psychological trauma of the disease and treatment. They find YES to be a non-irritant, effective and comforting alternative to the standard products available over the counter.”