Sexual and Fertility Changes in Women

Ask what changes you may have.

Talk with your TCI care team before your treatment starts to learn what sexual changes or changes to your fertility you may have.

The changes you might have to depend on the kind of chemotherapy you’ll be getting, as well as the type of cancer you have. Your age and other health issues are also important.

What sexual problems might I experience?

  • Dryness or itchy feeling in the vagina
  • Hot flashes
  • Infections of the vagina or bladder
  • Periods that are not regular or no periods (menstruation)
  • Stress, fatigue, or little interest in sex

Talk with your TCI care team to learn how to manage these changes. Ask how they can be treated and how long these problems may last.

How can I get help to cope?

Be open and honest with your partner. Talk about your feelings and concerns. Find new ways to show love and be close. It may also help to talk to your TCI care provider, Care Navigator, counselor, or individuals in a support group.

Do I need to use birth control?

Yes, all women who have not gone through menopause should use birth control. Or their partner should use a method of birth control. Talk with your TCI care team to learn what you should do. Don’t get pregnant during treatment, because chemotherapy can harm an unborn baby (fetus).

Will I be able to have children after treatment?

If you would like to have children, talk with your TCI care team before you start treatment. Your physician can talk with you about your choices and refer you to a fertility specialist.

Questions to ask your TCI care team:

  1. What problems should I call you about?
  2. What can help with sexual problems?
  3. Can I discuss this with my Care Navigator, or can you give me the name of a counselor I can talk to?
  4. What method of birth control would you suggest that my partner use?
  5. What can I do now if I would like to have children in the future?
  6. Can you give me the name of a fertility specialist I can talk with to learn more?
  7. After treatment is over, how long do I need to keep using birth control?

Chemotherapy can harm an unborn baby (fetus). Ask what birth control methods you or your partner should use.

Talk with your TCI care team to learn about special instructions to follow.

Tips from other women:

“Hot flashes were easier to handle when I carried a small hand fan. I also wore a short-sleeved shirt under my sweater so I could take my sweater off during a hot flash.”

“I used a cream to help with vaginal dryness, and I used a lubricant to feel more comfortable when I had sex.”

“Talk with your doctor before you start treatment. Ask how chemotherapy could affect your ability to have children.”