Sex after treatment

Womb cancer, its treatment and their side effects may affect your sex life and how you feel about yourself as a woman. Surgery to remove the ovaries or radiotherapy will cause the menopause.

Some common side effects of the menopause include:

  • hot flushes and sweats
  • vaginal dryness
  • low sex drive
  • emotional symptoms
  • bone thinning.

These side effects should gradually improve after treatment, although it may take longer for some women. If you do not feel like having sex, you can wait until you and your partner feel ready. There is no right or wrong time.

There are ways to manage these changes. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you are having problems with your sex life. They may be able to reassure you and offer help and support.

Sex after treatment

Womb cancer, its treatments and their side effects may affect your sex life and how you feel about yourself as a woman. This should slowly improve after treatment finishes. But for some women, it may take longer. Try not to think that sex is never going to be important in your life again. There may be a period of adjustment for you, and for your partner if you have one.

Cuddles, kisses and massages are affectionate and sensual ways of showing how much you care for someone, even if you do not feel like having sex. You can wait until you and your partner feel ready. There is no right or wrong time.

It is common to feel nervous about sex after cancer treatment. But it is perfectly safe for both you and your partner. At first, it may help to take more time to relax and for your partner to be very gentle.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you are having problems with your sex life. They may be able to reassure you and offer help and support. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or nurse, you can call us on 0808 808 00 00. You may find it helpful to talk to a sex therapist. You can contact a therapist through the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.

Sex and cancer - tips for women

Isabel White gives advice and demonstrates the tools available to women to help with possible sexual side effects of cancer treatment.

About our cancer information videos

Sex and cancer - tips for women

Isabel White gives advice and demonstrates the tools available to women to help with possible sexual side effects of cancer treatment.

About our cancer information videos


Menopausal symptoms

If you have not been through the menopause, a hysterectomy that involves removing the ovaries will cause the menopause straight away.

Women who have radiotherapy without any surgery will also have their menopause. This is because radiotherapy stops the ovaries working.

We describe some common symptoms of the menopause here.

Hot flushes and sweats

Low doses of anti-depressant drugs can be prescribed to reduce flushes.

Vaginal dryness

Non-hormonal creams and water-based lubricants help reduce discomfort during sex.

Low sex drive

Vaginal changes can reduce your sex drive. But getting help to manage these changes can improve things for many women. 

Emotional symptoms

These can include:

  • mood swings
  • feeling anxious
  • problems with concentration and memory.

Talking about your feelings with your family, friends, doctor or nurse can help. Some women find it helps to talk things through with a counsellor.

Bone thinning

An early menopause can increase the risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis).

Your doctor or specialist nurse can give you advice on how to manage symptoms. They can sometimes prescribe drugs to reduce hot flushes.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not usually advised after womb cancer, because it contains oestrogen. But there is no evidence that it increases the risk of the cancer coming back. Some cancer specialists may prescribe HRT for women who had early-stage womb cancer and who are having troublesome menopausal symptoms. They may do this if other treatments have not worked.

A number of organisations give support to women going through the menopause. This includes the Daisy Network.