So you have been through the big C word. You survived it. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Surgery. Now what? Life should be the same. But, really is it? Asking if you can complain about sex, when a few months ago you were afraid of dying? Cancer is terrible. Life after cancer doesn’t have to be. There is no need to suffer in silence. There is a field of specialized physical therapists who treat people like you all the time. Pelvic floor therapists have extensive training in the evaluation and treatment of pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissue, as well as looking at the person as a whole. Although people can have a whole cluster of symptoms after cancer treatment that can be addressed with physical therapy, we are going to devote this blog to unspoken; sex.
Radiation, either external beam or internal brachytherapy reduces elasticity of tissue and causes narrowing and shortening of the vaginal canal. Surgery can cause scar tissue restrictions. Hormonal changes from ovary removal, hysterectomy, or certain medications can cause vaginal tissue thinning, muscle atrophy, vaginal dryness and reduced libido. Ovarian cancer is an invasion to your pelvic region. It is a normal brain reaction to guard and protect areas of threat and pain. Guarding overtime leads to muscle spasm. Tight pelvic floor muscles may cause pain with sex and difficulty achieving orgasm or penetration. The common vaginal presentation of post gynecological cancer patients can include reduced vaginal tissue elasticity, pelvic floor muscle spasm, scar tissue, and reduced lubrication.
And now let’s get to it. Pelvic floor muscle spasm and tightness is just like any other part of your body. A tight neck, back, or hamstring. Different massage, stretching and breathing techniques can be used to relax and retrain the muscles of interest. Pelvic floor muscles are addressed the same way too! Pelvic floor therapists are trained in specialized manual therapy and myofascial release techniques for the entire pelvic region. You will also be guided with breathing, meditation, and relaxation exercises, and dilator instruction if needed. You will learn how to drop the stress you have been holding there, relax the muscles you clench and maintain lengthening with stretching tools. I have helped so many cancer patients enjoy the things they use to love. You can too. Search for a pelvic floor therapist near you; https://pelvicrehab.com/