Chemotherapy kills cancer cells and other fast-growing cells in the body. It can also affect healthy cells. It can cause side effects like a low libido.
It is important to use a barrier method of contraception during treatment. This can help prevent pregnancy and protect your partner from chemotherapy drugs.
How long after chemo can you have sex?
Depending on your type of chemotherapy, it may take several days for the medicine to leave your body, so doctors advise that you wait 72 hours before engaging in sexual activity (vaginal, oral or anal). Having sex during this time exposes your partner to the drug and can potentially lead to infection. If your doctor advises that you can have sex, they will most likely recommend that you use barrier methods (such as condoms, femidoms or dental dams) during sexual intercourse.
You should also discuss your feelings with your partner. Many patients find that their interest in sex decreases during chemo. This can be caused by fatigue, mouth sores, neuropathy, nausea or other side effects of treatment. However, there are other ways to show your love and be intimate, such as kissing, cuddling or massage.
The good news is that most sexual problems that occur during chemotherapy are temporary and will improve after you have completed your treatment. If your symptoms are severe and impact your quality of life, talk to your cancer team about the problem. They will be able to provide you with information and referrals for sex therapists or other specialists who can help. They may even be able to provide you with techniques and tools to overcome your anxiety about intimacy. In some cases, your oncologist may be able to prescribe medication that can improve your sexual desire during and after chemo.
Can you have sex while on chemo?
It is usually possible to have sex while on chemo, although it may be more difficult because of side effects like low mood or changes in the body. Many people find that their libido and performance return to normal soon after the end of chemotherapy. It is important to communicate with your partner about how chemo is affecting you and that you are both comfortable enough to continue intimacy.
During some types of chemotherapy, it is important to wait before having sex because the drugs can lower your immune system. This can lead to infections and complications such as bleeding. If you are concerned, ask your Doctor. It is also important to use barrier methods of contraception such as condoms when having sex because some chemo can cause low platelet and red blood cell counts which can increase the risk of bleeding.
It is not known if cancer treatment drugs can be passed to partners through bodily fluids, but for safety reasons, it is recommended that you use a condom during anal or vaginal sex and a dental dam when having oral sex. This will reduce the chance of passing cancer treatment drugs to your partner. It is also a good idea to use barrier methods of contraception for about 72 hours after receiving chemo. This will help to protect you from the possibility of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This includes both STIs and HPV.
Can you have sex after chemo?
Chemotherapy affects a person’s sexual desire and function. But it is still possible to have sex if you want to and feel well enough. Many people who have sex while undergoing cancer treatment find that they experience a return of their libido after chemotherapy is completed. However, some side effects of chemo can interfere with a person’s ability to have sex, including vaginal dryness, difficulty getting an erection and pain during sexual intercourse. These side effects may not last for long, but it is important to talk about them with your doctor to find ways to manage them.
Some types of chemotherapy involve a direct injection into the bladder or urethra, and some of these treatments can cause pain during sex. This can also interfere with a woman’s feeling of pleasure during sex and her climax. Some chemo treatments may also decrease a woman’s fertility, but this usually returns after treatment is over. In addition, some medications that are used to treat certain types of cancers can reduce sperm or egg cells, which can also interfere with having children in the future.
For some people, having sex while undergoing chemo can increase the risk of infection because their white blood cell count is low. Therefore, it is important to use barrier methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Can you have sex during chemo?
While sex may be OK for some people during chemo, it’s important to speak with your Doctor before you do. Some chemotherapy drugs can make their way into bodily fluids and can be passed on to sexual partners, so using barrier protection like condoms or a dental dam (for oral sex) is advisable. Some cancer treatments can also reduce white blood cell counts and your body’s natural immunity, which could increase your risk of infection.
If you’re in your childbearing years, it’s also a good idea to use birth control, especially during chemo. This is because some chemotherapy drugs can cause early menopause, and some women experience irregular or no menstrual periods during and after treatment.
Yeast infections can also occur during and after chemotherapy, so it’s worth being mindful of this if you’re engaging in intimate activities. If you’re concerned about a yeast infection, your GP may prescribe antibiotics or a vaginal dilator to help manage it.
Many cancer treatments can lead to a decrease in libido, but this is often temporary. Communicating openly with your partner and exploring different ways to be physically intimate can help you overcome this issue. You can also ask your doctor for advice or support from a couple’s or sex therapist. If you’re having internal radiotherapy, such as brachytherapy or radioisotope therapy, your cancer specialist nurse will be able to give you more information about how long you should wait before you try vaginal and anal sex.