Sex and Menopause

I finished treatment at the end of Jan 08 and am taking Tamoxifen. I am finding it very difficult (sometimes impossible) to have sex. I seem to tear all the time (even using lubricants) and assume it’s to do with the menopause. I also seem to take ages to heal. The thing is, my husband is very understanding and patient but I feel like a let down. We have only been married 16 months and it doesn’t seem fair on him. Is anyone aware of something that may help. Thanks Beth x

Hi Beth

You may find BCC’s publication regarding sex and intimacy useful, I have put the link for you below. Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

Have you tried using Replens moisturiser twice a week? It’s great for stopping vaginal itching and dryness and comes with a syringe type tube which is a bit like using a tampon. I’m post menopausal now, my periods stopped with my first cycle of chemo 2 years ago. I was able to go on low dose oestrogen pessaries as I had no hormone involvement (I was left with no libido at all and was very distressed by this). We still don’t have sex very often, but when we do we find using Sylk helps a lot.

I buy mines (Replens is easily found in Boots and I got Sylk from the internet) but I believe GPs can give you a prescription for them.

Thankyou Jo. Will check it out.
Thankyou Cherub. I meant to mention the itching but forgot. I am ER+ so am trying to avoid oestrogen. Does replens have any in it? I will check it out. Thankyou for replying. I find it so embarressing and frustrating. xx

Beth, Replens is fine as it doesn’t contain anything hormonal. It was recommended to me by my oncologist. The instructions say to use 3 times a week and you get about a months supply in a tube. You can also buy it as individually loaded tubes, but it works out at about double the price that way.

Because I’m able to have low dose oestrogen for the menopause I find I only need to use it once or twice a week now - when I start to get a slight itch, I know its time to use it again! I don’t know about you, but the itch drives me crazy. My late mum had it when she was menopausal back in the days when women just had to suffer it - she used to locke herself in the loo so she could have a really big scratch!

Hope this helps as this is such a rotten side effect of all the treatment.

Do you know what? I thought I was going to go mad with the itching. The worst of it is, and I apologise for being a bit graphic is that my skin seems to have thinned and so when I scratch ( even gently) my skin splits. It is a great relief that I am not the only one and thank you for being so honest. I am going to Boots tomorrow to buy some and try it out!! :slight_smile:

Put it this way, I was really glad the oncologist I saw most of the time was a woman! The male oncologist who worked under her got me a referral for a colleague of theirs who runs a menopause clinic, which was how I got sorted out with all the libido stuff. I suffered pretty much an overnight menopause with no real symptoms, and was told it’s worse than having to go through all the hot flushes as everything just cuts off. The menopause clinic told me I’m in their system for 5 years and just to make an appointment if I have more problems which is good as it means not having to go via my GP.

Shush! I have told my husband BC means you just cant have sex!, please dont give him any ideas!!!

I have the same problem with being very fragile down there, and I can get the Replens on prescription from my GP. It does help. Also need to use KY jelly or similar. My oncologist wont allow anything remotely oestragen near me, even though I am triple neg. Theres are no hormones in Replens. Goog Luck

I am so glad I read this post as I have been treating myself for thrush as I thought that this was the cause of the itch that I get from time to time. I could not understand why the thrush treatments were not working. I would never have guessed it to be a side effect of the menopause.

Annamarie, lol x
Marmite, Thanks, I will see if I can get it on prescription x
Neenie, so did I. I went through tubes of canesten. I have now brought Replens and touch wood… so far, so good. x
Cherub, you’re a lifesaver. Many thanks x

I have made the decision to stop taking Arimidex as i couldn’t cope with the side effects, especially the impact it was having on my physical relationship with my husband. Have been on it for a year now since finishing radio and stopped it a week ago, so far no changes in sex drive but as its my last hope in saving my marriage got to give it a go.

Hi Mounties. Gosh that’s a scary decision!!! Have you no libido or are you having difficulty doing the deed? Since using the Replens it has made such a difference generally although I haven’t had sex yet as my husband has ‘man flu’ but when we try and can’t, he is always understanding about it. It doesn’t make me feel great though. Cos now I have wonky boob and a dodgy mary!! I don’t actually feel very feminine at all. My husband hasn’t seen my wonky boob since it was operated on, although I am thankful that I was lucky enough to keep most of it!! :slight_smile:

I have no libido at all, i have tried everything to help with the dryness and soreness but nothing has worked. This is why i took the decision to stop taking the Arimidex, my husband is very caring but he has needs which need to be fulfilled and i think he finds it hard that we had a fantastic sex life prior to bc and nothing since chemo. I had a mastectomy and that did have effect on my confidence but i’m fine with that now. Just wish there was something that could flick my switch on again or put my husband to sleep at night as its awful having sex when you really don’t enjoy it or want it.

Hi ladies i have had exactly the same probs… and have come to the same decicion as Mounties, i stopped taking Arimidex 4 weeks ago.I decided to do this for myself no one else. I feel so much better in myself, obviously still have menpause to deal with, but quality of life is better. As for libido not back to how it was before BC but not zero which it had been.

Jojo, did u tell your gp or onc what you have decided to do? I am going to see gp later todat as i asked her to speak to onc to see if he could come up with anything that would help me resurrect my marriage. Have you got your sex drive back now and do you find the dryness has improved since you stopped the arimidex?

Yes I spoke to Onc, well spoke to Specialist BCN first who was a women and was very understanding.I had already had probs with Tamoxifen then had a break then went on Arimidex and just started feelling the same (dreadful).
He said we could try something else but i said i did’nt want to, not yet anyway i go back in Jan 09.
Onc suggested Testosterone patches for sex drive as my level was very low, i no this is not suitable for everyone, but they have helped me. Things are not as they were but alot better.
Good luck with GP

Went to see Gp today who had got reply from onc. He has said that if i cannot get on with arimidex as he knows i tried tamoxifen and found that unbearable then i should come off it. It will cut my survival rate for 10 years by 20%. But as Gp said thats a statistic and you don’t live your life by statistics. I have asked about the testosterone patches but was told due to bc not allowed them. So i’ve told her i’ve stopped them and when i see onc for check up in Jan 09 can discuss further.

Hope things start to improve for you. As for statistics i hear and am told so many different things that it sends my head in a spin. I just go with how i’m feeling…