Vaginal dryness is one of the most common side effects for women undergoing cancer treatments, often caused by chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, ovarian radiation, and pelvic surgery. A decrease or lack of estrogen in the body or changes to the vaginal tissue can also cause dryness. This symptom directly relates to painful intercourse for many women, but vaginal dryness from cancer treatment can lead to itching, burning, and discomfort throughout the day and night, not just during sex.
Painful intercourse and vaginal dryness can be embarrassing and difficult to discuss, but communication is essential for management. In this case, discussing symptoms with the cancer care team is just as important as communication between partners at home.