The other thing I'd say on this subject is that I find if you use whatever you chose everyday without fail (twice a day is better) and use replense with the re usable applicator at least three times a week to get it high inside then the results are much better! - when I've spoken to friends - with or without bc but menopausal, who have the problem some only get the lubricator out when they want sex and wonder why it doesn't work - after all we use moisturiser on our face daily and wouldn't expect one application every now and again to work! Another habit to develop...... but worth it!
Thank all of you for a most interesting thread! The advice about washing with acqueous cream is particularly valuable for me as I've been having urethritis type symptoms, probably SE's of chemo, but probably exacerbated by the dye they gave me for my SNB 2 weeks ago. When I was in hospital I noticed a poster on the wall of one of the ward utility rooms about E45. Apparently they have discovered that E45 can actually thin skin tissue so they recommend ZeroAQS. ( http://www.zeroderma.com/zeroAQS.html) The health service buys it in packs called "Care Acqueous Cream", and it is available on prescription from your GP. Hope this helps.
I'm so glad to have received a couple of quite positive replies to my explicit post, especially as on second thoughts I'd questioned its wisdom. And having admitted that, I'll say what troubled me ... it later crossed my mind that using dildos or vibrators - however legitimate and useful their purpose might be, could also come over quite thereatening in a relationship working through feelings of rejection, resentment, in adaquacies and insecurities. Every relationship is so different as are we, as breast cancer girls. For a start, if I'd been 20 or 30 years younger with BC, I'd have felt completely different to now, at 65. I'd have been far more distressed over my body image and possibly resentful to have lost young, sexy years now devoid of hormones. It must be very different for younger partners too.
But I still think it's important to try and make the best of a somewhat spoilsport predicament - it's just that how we do that I guess is different for us all. When sex is good, it's not an issue, but when it's a problem it seems the whole baseline of assurance and confidence is thrown off balance.
On safer ground, the yes yes yes oil based stuff is excellent for easing dry intercourse, and any other water based lubrication on top of that makes it even easier. Applying both those creams - first oil based then water based, both liberally to our loved ones and ourselves really does ensure a much more comfortable entry. Working with 'toys' or even medical stretching devices can help us relax so that we don't freeze up with anticipated pain, and, as I confessed, for me, a vibrator can squeeze out some residual libido from an ageing, hormone deprived but very happy lady! But it might need a secure guy to understand this and I guess that takes communication.....
Best of luck to us all, eh??! love Cherry
Thank you so much for the brave post, I haven't known who to ask or how to. It's been so difficult as I'm in a relatively new relationship and the cancer came along not long after we got together. I've ordered some stuff off the Yes site and am feeling happier and more positive already.
Whoops, realised my last post could be misinterpreted.
What I meant was that the forum has bleeped out my abbreviation of an anatomical part,
and I'm a bit flabbergasted.
The 'offending' word in unabbreviated form ends with ....oris
Woud a vibrator do much the same job as a 'dilator' then?
I've got a rampant rabbit kicking about somewhere, never found them to have stimulation effect used internally, but if it helps loosen things up, I'll go on a rabbit hunt and resurrect it!
Re libido revivors, the best product I ever found for getting the **bleep** revved up is called Vielle (stimulating gel), a little bottle, about £6 from Boots. Its got a lovely texture which lasts, you only use a small amount so its not really an internal lubricant. Why is it that the older you get the more paraphernalia you need for everything?
Hi Fecinora, shall I tell you a secret? This is possibly a bit controversial and I can understand any restrictions on explicit - and possibly unwise suggestions on this board, but I'll give it a go! Following anastrozole, my libido plummeted as well as developing a very dry vagina - one thing, of course, aggravating the other. My marriage is 42 years old and strong, we shared 'problems' and I put that in inverted commas because we're just thrilled I'm still here and anyway, after 42 years, we've already enjoyed a lot of intimacy..... so this is just added fun.
But, I use a vibrator/dildo, hugely lubricated, first to prepare the walls of my vagina for penetration at my own pace, and then secondly, it speeds up any dregs of dormant libido into potential action! My husband has the added pleasure of approving (by watching) this performance which culminates in tender and loving intercourse.
Apologies if this offends, but from a practical or physical point of view, I think if we can find anway to help sex - if it still matters - then perhaps it's a good thing (husbands can be extremely accommodating with new ideas ...). The funny thing about marital sex, in my opinion, is when it ticks over at whatever pace be it once a week or once a month, everything is good. When it goes wrong, it's the hardest thing in the world to talk about and can feel like a brick wall. I hope some of these posts can help you,
I had problems prior to my BC diagnosis earlier this year. Since menopause, tightness and 'vaginal atrophy' - even smear tests are excruciating! Apparently the skin thins, the problem is more than just lack of lubrication.
This continues, the desire is there, but the longer this goes on the more it threatens our relationship and the more difficult to get back on track.
I tried Gynest (oestrogen cream), which helps with the skin changes, but only temporarily, so you need to continue using it, which most of us wont be keen to do obviously. I abandoned it very quickly anyway, as every morning after using it I had lower abdo pains.
I will try some of the alternative products suggested here. Thank you all for the information.
Sorry this isnt a very helpful post.
Thanks Sylvia, my GP did actually prescribe replens for me but I didn't get on too well with it to be honest. I found it lubricating at the wrong times - it seemed to 'gunge me up' if that's an apt description! But when it came to making love, it didn't really help (for me) as it wasn't necessarily working there on call. I'm sure we're all different and respond differently to various options - the main thing being if it works - then great.
I've also used KY and other lubricants but it still didn't provide enough deeply internal comfort , but this yesyesyes oil based stuff really has saved my problems, and if you top that up with the water based version on top (yes's suggestion), it really has done the trick for me - and him.
I have same problem rearing its ugly head 6 years after treatment and I am 62 now. After using several lubricants I have found Replens the best and, your GP can prescribe it for you. You have to use several times in a week at first but can then ease off to maybe just once a week. Obviously the best is an oestrogen containing one - there are some extremely low dose ones on prescription - and risk of further cancer is extremely low but obviously this you should discuss with your oncologist. i have made the choice of using Ovestin 1mg cream as my relationship of over 17 years is suffering.
Thanks again for those posts of advice. I'd just like to say that I ordered and received 'Yes' oil based lubricant (plus a free sample of their water-based lubricant) and have found it has solved my discomfort issues.
I'm sooooo grateful - and relieved! Painful sex is a huge block for intimacy and although my libido has reduced, I still wanted to be receptive and loving - with the occasional ace card! Their paperwork even suggested first applying oil based followed by water based for added lubrication - and the result is wonderful.
I'm posting this in case anyone else can benefit from this - thanks again,
Thanks everyone, this is proving really helpful! I also see on the yesyesyes site they do oil and water based lubricants so I'm beginning to see what might be the best sort to go for .... thanks!
Hi Cherry....I know exactly how you feel. I have had this problem since changing from tamoxifen to letrozole and am now on examestane. I tried replens,sylk you name it andnothing helped. Ended up being referred to a gynae nurse at Christies. Amongst other things she said if you are post menopausal need to use oil based products. Things like replens, sylk and ky jelly are all water based. Told me to use olive oil (bought from chemist olive oil bp ) and also use aqueous cream in the bath/shower to wash those parts rather than soaps etc. Have followed her advice religiously and my god what a difference! Its not as before but so much better! Feel free to pm me.
While you are waiting for other members to repond to your post I thought you might find our booklet on Sexuality and Intimacy useful. here is the link:
You could also talk things over with one of our Helpliners. The helpline is open from 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. The number is 0808 800 6000
Very best wishes
Almost a year after a mastectomy, raiotherapy and anastrozole, I feel really well except for a growing problem with sex. Without oestrogen, my libido has greatly diminished but, at 65, I can look back on 42 years of an intimate marriage, and we still make love. But increasingly I'm finding this painful ... in fact sometimes it feels almost damaging! We use liberal ampounts of KY jelly, but I've seen others post on 'sylk'?
I'm mindful it needs to be oestrogen free so would value any advice regarding this .... in fact any advice altogether would be welcome . Are some lubricants better than others? I accept that for both my husband and me, we'll perhaps be slowing down as time goes by, but it also matters that I'm happy to respond to lovemaking, at least with comfort if not wild passion!