Replens - sexually explicit content!!

Help! - this is hard enough to write so the idea of actually talking about this scares me but I can’t be alone - can I?!
I’d menopaused at 50 when my primary was dx, and had Arimidex then Aromasin and then tamoxifen but now my cancer has decided it can’t be bothered with hormones so I’m hormone tablet less. I thought this would help, but it doesn’t seem to have.
My problem isn’t so much dryness but tightness. My GP suggested replens and I’ve tried that and yes it moisturises but it doesn’t help one iota with the fact I’m so tight. Intercourse is impossible, my smear test was agony and I nearly cried enough but went thru with it in tears - does anyone have any ideas or suggestions please?


Broomsticklady, I have been there, done it and got the t-shirt on this one!
I became post menopausal at 46 after all the chemo, no hot flushes nothing, had a period 2 weeks prior to start of chemo then that was it. I was given the Vagifem low dose pessaries which helped immensely, then I had a post meno bleed and was told to come off them.
I had another post meno bleed last year which I was again referred for, this time the gynaecologist decided she wanted to do a D and C and during the procedure they widened the neck of my cervix slightly - she said it was so tiny they could not have even got a thin pencil through it. This has now given me immense relief - like you, I was finding the whole sex thing very uncomfortable and after 25 years of marriage was finding this distressing.
You also have to bear in mind that once you are menopausal / post menopausal your vaginal canal both narrows and shortens, hence a lot of discomfort. I had a smear test a few weeks ago and could not wait for the nurse to remove the speculum as it was so uncomfortable, this was a first for me as I’ve always been OK.
I use Replens from time to time, but I’d also recommend a product called “Yes” which is said to be the closest to natural lubrication and is specially developed for intercourse. It’s available to buy online (just google Yes) and for about a tenner you can buy a little bag of sample sizes of the different types they do, so you can try them out. We thought it’s the best product we’ve used.
You might also want to look at a website called Menopause Expert, they are adding to the articles all the time.
I was mortified when I had to start talking to Drs about this stuff!
Hope this helps in some small way.

Thanks Cherub - it sounds silly but helps that I’m not alone! I was OK after menopause, it just seems the hormone abuse I’ve put my body thru has exacerbated things. I’ll google Yes and have a play with some samples. I spose the only good thing having been married so long (34 years for us) is we can laugh and cry about it together.

Too true, whilst it can be incredibly hard at times there is also some humour in the situation. If I didn’t laugh I’d scream

I’m the same, its the tightness thats the problem. I’ve been given the Vagifem which helps with the dryness but it’s still very tight.
I dread having a smear!

I find it helps if the person doing the smear is quite chatty and cheerful. I had never had a smear done by a woman prior to all this and I have to say I do find men are a bit more gentle. One male gynae consultant I used to see when I lived down in London used to warm the speculum up a bit as well!

I am really pleased to see this topic back on the agenda. There was a thread some time ago about this very topic and it very quickly tailed off. I think that in itself tells a story. My personal experience is of dx in August 2010 and went on to have surgery, chemo, rads and then Herceptin for a yr and now Letrozole for 5 years (that I know of). No-one broached the subject with me around the implications on my body of Letrozole and it came as quite a shock(I know it shouldn’t have!) that this would have such an impact on the intimate side of my life. I had Hyseterctomy 10 years ago with ovaries removed (for other reasons) and had no real ill effects at all. My intimate life was good and I had thought that we could pick up where we left off at point of diagnosis/surgery. Not to be so! It has had such an effect on my psychologically and I resent this change in my life. I have tried Replens and Sylk with no joy. Very painful which ends up with me in tears and my husband feeling very guilty. I think this is the unspoken part of bc. I sometimes think that this loss is such a constant reminder of what bc has done, not only to me but to my husband. I deal every day with the fear of bc returning and mourn for the initimacy we once had. However, I notice someone has mentioned ‘Yes’ and I am going to give it a try. Please keep talking about this. The loneliness and feeling of failure can only be made easier by us recognising we are not alone. My best wishes to everyone. Jayne.

Hi all,

I have put for you below the link to BCC’s publication ‘Sexual Intimacy and BC’ ,and hope it helps. Don’t forget you can also talk to the helpline staff about this too.

Take care,

Jo, Facilitator

Hi Jo
Link does not appear to be working. Can you advise how else I could access this publication?

Thanks, Jayne

Hi Jayne,

I’ve just tried it and it has worked for me, sorry it hasn’t worked for you. If it continues not to work you can either phone the helpline in the morning and they will post you a copy out or you can find the publication through the services tab at the top of this page and follow the links to publications.

Hope this works now.

Jo, Facilitator

Thanks Jo, managed to cut and paste into google search and have it now. I will read it through at my leisure. Jayne.

Broomstick lady,
Just wanted to thank you for being brave enough to post about this very sensitive subject. I am 43 and suffered from vaginal dryness following my first chemotherapy treatment in 2009. This improved eventually but I have just had chemotherapy again and will be having my ovaries out next year and it is one of the symptoms which scares me most in terms of quality of life, and also my partner’s.
The publications do touch on this subject but not in the detail required. I have learned more from this thread than several meetings with doctors/nurses and my own attempted research.
Thank you all so much. Hopefully this information will help others and normalise this issue. Why do we suffer in silence?

Rattles x

Having the same issue re vaginal tightness etc following chemotherapy, radiotherapy and now on anastrozole , I was at my wits end! I don’t want to lose this part of my life too! I have Sylk and Replens on prescription. I brought dilatory but frequently can’t be bothered to use them. I have now discovered a new treatment available called the Mona Lisa Touch laser treatment which apparently works incredibly well. It’s expensive in England, seems so much less in other countries which isn’t fair! Has anyone had this treatment? Advice please.