Vaginal health after breast cancer: A guide for patients

Key points

  • Women who have had breast cancer treatment before menopause may develop a range of symptoms related to low oestrogen levels, while post-menopausal women may have a worsening of their symptoms.
  • These symptoms relate to both the genital and urinary tracts.
  • A range of both non-prescription/lifestyle and prescription treatments is available.
  • Discuss your symptoms with your specialist or general practitioner as they will be able to advise you, based on your individual situation.

pdfAMS Vaginal health after breast cancer - patient guide366.94 KB

Why is oestrogen important for vaginal health?

What symptoms occur with changes in vaginal health?

How are these symptoms related to my breast cancer treatment?

How can I minimise irritation to the vagina?

What treatments are available?

Sexual issues after breast cancer treatment

Sexual problems occur in many women who have had treatment for breast cancer, and you may feel the need to obtain professional help for these difficulties.

Here are some things that might assist:

Prescription treatments for vaginal health

Further reading

1. Portman, D. J., & Gass, M. L. (2014). Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: New Terminology for Vulvovaginal Atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and The North American Menopause Society. Journal of The Sexual Medicine.
2. Wills, S., Ravipati, A., Venuturumilli, P., Kresge, C., Folkerd, E., Dowsett, M., Hayes, D.F., Decker, D. A. (2012). Effects of vaginal estrogens on serum estradiol levels in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors and women at risk of breast cancer taking an aromatase inhibitor or a selective estrogen receptor modulator. Journal of Oncology Practice, 8(3), 14144-14148.

AMS Empowering Menopausal Women

Note: Medical and scientific information provided and endorsed by the Australasian Menopause Society might not be relevant to a particular person's circumstances and should always be discussed with that person's own healthcare provider.

This Information Sheet may contain copyright or otherwise protected material. Reproduction of this Information Sheet by Australasian Menopause Society Members and other health professionals for clinical practice is permissible. Any other use of this information (hardcopy and electronic versions) must be agreed to and approved by the Australasian Menopause Society.

Content created February 2015