Tips For Treating Your Vaginal Atrophy After Radiation Therapy

If you have recently undergone a total hysterectomy and radiation therapy for uterine cancer and are having symptoms of vaginal atrophy, then it is important you know that you are not alone. Vaginal atrophy is a very common issue for women who have radiation and hysterectomies who are not able to receive hormone replacement therapies. Thankfully, there are many safe things that you can do to improve your vaginal health and keep your vagina from furthering atrophying, such as each of the following tips:

Tip: Engage in Frequent Sexual Intercourse with Your Partner

When you have sexual intercourse, a lot of blood is diverted into the tissues of your vagina. All of this excess blood flow brings healthy nutrients to the tissues of your vagina. The blood-rich tissues also have an easier time healing themselves. By having frequent sexual intercourse with your partner, your vaginal tissues will be bathed in healthy nutrients often in a very natural way. In addition, sexual activity naturally raises the levels of estrogen that your body naturally produces. The combination of natural estrogen production, regular engorgement of the vaginal tissues, and the physical stretching of the vagina during sex, goes a long way towards keeping vaginal atrophy at bay after radiation therapy.

Tip: Use Vaginal Dilators to Keep Vaginal Tissues Flexible

As the estrogen level in your body drops from having your surgery, your vaginal tissues start to dry out, shrink, and can become very inflexible. You can prevent your vagina from shrinking or expand it if this is already a problem, using vaginal dilators. Vaginal dilators are plastic, rubber, or glass cylinders that you insert each day into your vagina. If your vaginal tissues have already atrophied and need to be gently stretched back into shape, then you can gradually increase the size of the dilator that you use over time. Your doctor can prescribe a set of dilators for you, or you can purchase them online.

Tip: Speak to Your Gynecologist About Using a Vaginal Hormone Cream

Finally, since the root cause of your vaginal atrophy issue is a lack of estrogen in your vagina's tissues, providing estrogen to the exact area it is needed often works nicely to reduce this type of side effect from radiation therapy. While your cancer history makes taking estrogen internally impossible, there are many low-dose estrogen creams that are applied directly to vaginal tissues. The estrogen does not enter your bloodstream and many gynecologists will approve this type of therapy for vaginal atrophy. 

For more information, make sure to talk with your doctor.