Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Sex Complaints Common After Breast Cancer

    Mastectomy, Aromatase Inhibitors Linked to Sexual Dysfunction

    Effective Libido Drugs Needed

    In the study, which included nearly 1,600 breast cancer survivors with sexual partners recruited within a year of their cancer diagnosis, use of aromatase inhibitors was associated with a more than three-fold increased incidence of sexual function problems.

    “Every woman who is put on these drugs should be told it is highly likely they will experience symptoms related to menopause, including vaginal dryness, but that isn’t always happening,” Davis says. “And women may be reluctant to talk about the issue with their oncologist.”

    Bone recommends topical vaginal estrogen to many of her breast cancer patients.

    Although this is somewhat controversial, she says the doses used in most estrogen-containing vaginal creams are very low, and studies show that very little is absorbed systemically.

    Davis recommends starting with a non-hormonal lubricant like vegetable oil.

    The survey revealed that women who had their breasts removed were twice as likely to report negative feelings about body image as women who had breast-conserving surgeries, even when they had breast reconstruction surgery.

    “Reconstruction is major cosmetic surgery and a lot of women end up with pain,” she says.

    She says the high incidence of low desire among women who have been treated for breast cancer speaks to the need for effective libido-targeting treatments.

    Early last summer, an FDA panel recommended against approval of the drug flibanserin, which has been called the ‘female Viagra,’ concluding that two studies failed to show a significant increase in desire among women taking the drug compared to women taking placebo pills.

    “I think this drug needs to be studied in women with breast cancer because it is non-hormonal and this is a population with a real need for a libido drug,” she says. “And you are not likely to see a big placebo effect. If it doesn’t work, they will tell you.”

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
     
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
     
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    VIDEO
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Article
     
    Woman getting mammogram
    Article
    Screening Tests for Women
    Article
     
    serious woman
    Article
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    QUIZ
     
    what is your cancer risk
    Article
    breast cancer survivors
    Article