Painful sex - anyone else?

I’d really like to know if others are going thru this, and if they are/have, what, if anything, has helped.
Warning - explicit: sorry but I’m going to go into a bit of detail here (because vague descriptions may lead to assumptions it’s some other thing). I have got fed up of saying to health professionals “It isn’t a lack of lubrication”!
So, here’s the background and description of the problem: I am 50 years old and 18m post treatment. For the last year or more I have had multiple doses of thrush, experience vaginal dryness and when attempting sex find it painful. Even when no thrush is present and we used plenty of lubricant it was still painful and the skin at the entrance split (as if it couldn’t stetch). My GP prescribed Silk lubricant, then oral tablets for thrush, weekly for 6 months, in an attempt to stamp it out. But it came back after the end of treatment. (The painful sex continued thru treatment). GP then prescribed Gynest (low dose - half applicator weekly [I’m homone recep +ve]), lubrication has improved, but pain and splitting continued. GP then referred me to a gynacologist. He diagnosed Lichen Sclerosus (on visual exam, not biopsy), prescribed Dermovate which improved itching, but still the painful sex and splitting skin continued. Now awaiting colposcopy + biopsy to confirm diagnosis and check for any other indications. As of Nov 2012 I am having no sex at all as I have ended my relationship due to his general self-oriented attitude post Mx (and “squeamishness” about my scars and lack of breasts - yes, who needs that!).
So has anyone else experienced something similar? Anything helped? (Congratulations if you are still reading, by the way!)
I am also aware that I face some interesting challeges when I start looking for a new partner. But I think that’s a whole new subject! I am quite happy on my own for a while.

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Hi Ninianne
Whilst I can’t comment on your condition I applaud your frankness. Perhaps someone else has experience they can share that may help.
I think you’ll be Ok when you’re ready for a new partner as there are loads of brilliant men out there who aren’t the things you’ve experienced.
In the meantime I hope whoever it is you are referred to can get to the bottom (no pun intended) of it for you.

Hi Ninianne

There was quite a long thread on a similar topic from a couple of years ago - maybe some tips on there? Search Results | Breast Cancer Now

There was also an article in our Vita magazine a while ago that you might find helpful Search Results | Breast Cancer Now

We’ve also got a booklet on Sexuality, Intimacy and Breast Cancer that you can download or order

Finally (for now) there was also a thread recently where people who are/were single were posting about dating etc Search Results | Breast Cancer Now

Hope that helps


Hi my name is Jennifer, Iam new to the forum,I have been looking through the forums trying to find someone with the same problems as myself. I too have problems with painful sex and my skin tearing, I am now on my third gynaecologist who has put me on steroid creams for my skin as i have been itching and scratching and making things worse, this has helped with the itching but not with the painful intercourse which i hardly bother with nowadays. My gynaecologist has booked me in for a scan to look at my ovarian function as i am 44 and have not had a period for three years since having chemo. I am also waiting for surgery to make the entrance bigger a similar procedure to episiotomy when giving birth. I have tried oestrogen creams but these make the itching even worse and do not help with pain, i am using replens frequently. I have stopped taking my tamoxifen blaming all these problems on the drug so i have an appointment with my oncologist on Monday to discuss this. I am glad that i am not the only one going through this, but i think that people just don’t talk about intimate problems and there should be more help out there for us ladies. Please let me know how you are getting on it would be great to keep in touch.

I too have only just seen this thread and agree. Sex and intimacy is something that is very important to many of us but sadly not always addressed. I don’t have issues with skin tearing (fortunately) but since starting Tamoxifen 6 weeks ago have started to experience pain and soreness when attempting sex. I invested in some Sylk this week which I have used once with some success. I visited my GP today for a smear and that was also quite painful. I did consider taking my Sylk with me but thought the Practice Nurse might find it slightly odd :smileyhappy: I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will continue to improve with the Sylk but my heart goes out to all of you with worse problems than me. Wishing all of you good luck Mac x

Are you on any AIs? My insides are so friable that a swab (at colposcopy) caused bleeding as she said “look, it bleeds very easily” No sex for a long time now - lack of estrogen methinks. Most “treatment” is estrogen based, so not possible as the risk of BC is too high. I’ve no solution, but you’re not alone! Jane


yes i’m the same. taking tamoxifen and sex is painful. ive got an appointment at the docs tommorow so i will ask if its normal, see what happens from there.

angie xx

Hi NiniAnne - I have this too. I finished treatment in August and am going to the docs on Thursday. I also had repeated thrush through treatment and had assumed (even though nothing is obvious) that I still had it. I feels like an small open split inside and is quite sore with penetrative sex. I also have a sore bum hole (too much info??) and had thrush there too during treatment and a fissure. Although the bum is better than it was, the lady bits are worse. I bleed from both, bum if I walk and bits after sex. Would be interested to know how you get on as I feel I will be walking the same path as you.


Hiya, I too have painful sex. I had BC treatment early in 2011 & then hysterectomy later on in same year. I have tried various lubricants, but non seem to really help. It stings & bleeds & isn’t enjoyable at all! Thankfully hubby is very understanding, but I find it frustrating, feel as though my mojo has been taken away :frowning:

Hi all, OK here’s. My experience and hope it helps. oestrogen positive breast cancer 8 years ago. for 5 years I was on tamoxifen. sex became increasingly painful. I had heard that as tamoxifen blocks the oestrogen then oestrogen if vaginal creams could be used but I didn’t use them as I was too scared to introduce any oestrogen into my system. I then started on petrol ole for 14 months and my Professor said that as let rookie does not block oestrogen I could not take any vaginal oestrogen cream for vaginal dryness. I came off the letrozole as it gave me osteoporosis and my prof has decided that I can take tamoxifen for another 5 years which I am keen to continue and this time I asked him if it was safe to take oestrogen vaginal cream and he said…“Yes” I even have it in writing that it Is safe to take an oestrogen vaginal cream with oestrogen positive breast cancer. I am pretty sure that it is the depletion of oestrogen in our vaginas that causes the atrophy of the lining of the vagina and vulva which causes pain during intercourse. Post menopausal women get it too. so I use GYNEST cream and it does help. good luck

Hi Ninianne, OMGosh you have just totally described my symptoms & also the usual reply from my Gynecologist when you mention painful sex , to use a lubricant, ,
it’s like my vagina has shrunk, it isn’t about dryness,
,I’m sore for days afterwards, I used Vagisan cream which helps a bit, but I just want my sex life back with my husband, he is so supportive & understanding thank goodness but I am so sad , I miss us.
I don’t have tearing or thrush , but sometimes itching & sore , also a very watery discharge that just happens & it’s very uncomfortable.
I had a lumpectomy 5 years ago followed by radiotherapy,
I am 52ys old & started going through the menopause about 10 yrs ago with no problems other than hot flushes, which had subsided before being diagnosed.
I have been taking Tamoxifen for the past 5 yrs which is when a few months in my problems started, hot flushes & really painful sex.
Today my Oncologist told me I can stop the Tamoxifen if I like as I’ve done 5 yrs & there is no proven records to support taken it for 5 more years,
Today I have taken my last Tamoxifen tablet :slight_smile:

Hi I have been prescribed estriol cream. Apparently ok for ER+ as long as ultra low dose given. Returned my lady bits to pre-BC condition after 2 weeks. Thought I was shrinking, but husband said it felt the same to him. Sure didn’t feel the same to me though!! Now miles better. According to research estriol doesn’t metabolise into harmful compounds that contribute to BC &, if used topically, doesn’t cause rise in systemic levels or impact uterus. Most GPs aren’t aware, so you maybe have to take the research in with you. x

Oops forgot to attach research x

Forgot to say our post is on the Sex and Relationship forum

Yes, I know what you’re feeling. Unfortunately, I have no idea how it can be fixed. I guess it should heal after some time. I would recommend you to use more lube and foreplay, it should help a little bit. I had exactly the same problem, and I have fixed it thanks to some sex accessories from Did you know that there are a lot of different things that can improve your sexual life ? For example, now I am using a vibrator and a lot of lube. It makes sexual intercourse less painful.

Lube just doesn’t do it for me, it dries quickly and then leaves a sticky mess. I’ve started using a product called Enhance Her as my go-to natural lubricant. It’s an oil with infused herbs that are known to support menopausal symptoms and dryness. It’s done wonders for my vaginal health and dryness. We’ve incorporated it into our foreplay routine by starting with a sensual massage. My partner just loves the smell. I on the other hand love the massage, closer connection and silky ride, it feels so much better than what I get from any water-based lubes. :kissing_heart: :heart: