Breast Ca Tx Can Dampen Sex Drive
Women who are treated with aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer after menopause have "very high levels of sexual difficulties, including low interest, insufficient lubrication, and pain with intercourse," according the authors of a study published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society. The researchers maintain that this is "an important and underestimated problem" because aromatase inhibitors may "offer advantages in terms of preventing breast cancer recurrence and possibly in increasing survival" and therefore they may be used more than they have been in the past.
The investigators, from Örebro University and Uppsala University in Sweden, are the first to look at the impact of this type of breast cancer treatment on specific aspects of sexuality in postmenopausal women. "Nearly three quarters of these women had insufficient lubrication, more than half (56%) had pain with intercourse, half said their sexual interest was low, and 42% were dissatisfied with their sex life," the study noted. These percentages were far higher than for postmenopausal women who were not being treated for breast cancer. Women taking tamoxifen for breast cancer also had a dampened sex drive and increased pain with intercourse, but they had significantly fewer problems than women taking aromatase inhibitors.
The researchers called for more intensive study of the causes and impact of the side effects of aromatase inhibitors "so we can improve breast cancer survivors’ quality of life in the future."