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Sexuality and Fertility in Women during Radiation Therapy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I need to know about sexuality and fertility during radiation therapy?

Radiation may damage your reproductive organs or cause early menopause, preventing you from being able to become pregnant. A decrease in female hormone levels can cause problems with sexual function or desire. Radiation can also cause vaginal itching, burning, and dryness that make sex painful or difficult.

Female Reproductive System

What can I do before radiation therapy to protect my fertility?

Talk to your healthcare providers before you start radiation therapy. It is important for your providers to know if you want to have children after therapy. You may be able to do the following before treatment:

What do I need to know about pregnancy during and after radiation therapy?

Work with healthcare providers to plan a pregnancy if you did not store your eggs before treatment. You may be able to get pregnant during and after treatment, but radiation can harm an unborn baby. Radiation can also cause problems during pregnancy. Use birth control during the time you are treated and for up to 6 months after. This may prevent problems with the pregnancy or harm to the baby.

What can I do to manage problems?

Where can I get support and more information?

When should I contact my doctor or gynecologist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.