Dyspareunia (Painful Intercourse) and Bladder Cancer
In this article, let’s look again at something many women with bladder cancer experience, dyspareunia. Unfortunately, many women in general are experiencing pain from sex. Dyspareunia (dis-par-oo-nee-ah) is defined as “persistent genital pain that occurs just before, during and after intercourse.”1 Some of the symptoms include:
- Pain at initial penetration
- Deep pain during thrusting
- Burning pain or aching pain
- Throbbing pain, that lasts hours after sex 1
At the end of the article, there is one solution on the horizon that could aid women who are dealing with painful intercourse due to vaginal shortening. Let’s get started.
How bladder removal surgery impacts the vagina
Depending on the severity of the cancer, certain organs will be removed while others are spared. For example, “In radical cystectomy, if the uterus need to be taken as well as part of the vaginal area, typically the anterior vaginal wall is removed. Then the posterior section of the wall [would] be folded over and then sutured. This specific technique definitely leads to vaginal shortening.”2 The article continues, “Definitely shortening or narrowing of the vagina, there can be post-menopausal symptoms if the uterus, ovaries and tubes are removed and if the female patient has not necessarily gone through menopause yet. Loss of libido, discomfort, hot flashes, definitely sensitivities are changed or there’s lots of sensitivity, vaginal dryness pain with intercourse…”2
Pain from vaginal shortening
Here, let’s focus on vaginal shortening. With a shorter vagina, it’s not a surprise there can be pain with intercourse. Yes, there may be vaginal stretching but not enough to make sex comfortable, pleasurable or even enjoyable. Even with your lover being as careful and tender as possible, the pain may appear and persist.
Assistance from sexual aids?
As luck would have it, my better half sent me a video detailing a new sexual aid called the Ohnut. It's a device that is said to decrease sexual pain. Of course, I was intrigued. After a bit more investigation, I discovered it was created by a woman who suffered from severe pain during and after sex. Let’s look at it.
Before we start, I have to say I have no financial interest in this product and I am not connected to this company in any way. In an interview with Allure, the designer Emily Sauer discovered many of her friends and family were also suffering with painful sex. She said, “To my surprise, friends, strangers, even family members came out and told me they had this problem, too. It was a complete paradigm shift for me. I found out 75 percent of women have experienced painful sex. I thought, this is not ok.”3
What is the Ohnut?
The Ohnut is a soft, 2 ¼ inch by 1 ¾ inch silicone ring designed to be worn at the base of the penis that “customizes” the depth of penetration during sex. Think of a penile ring with soft stackable segments to control how much penetration occurs. For more info about the Ohnut, stop by their site.
Talking with your doctor
Usually, I’d end my articles by saying something like ‘…if you have questions, please ask your doctor, etc.’ Here is one time you’ll get the opportunity to educate you doctor because, most likely, he or she has never heard of this. Explain what the Ohnut is all about. You may want to ask them, depending on your surgical location, if using the Ohnut could irritate that area and in the end, cause you pain?
So, there’s the Ohnut. I hope this little device aids in your goal in being sexually healthy. From the early reviews, it seems to work just fine. If anyone uses an Ohnut, please be sure to leave a comment so you can tell others about your experience. Thank you.
Have your views towards bladder removal changed since you were diagnosed?