A major issue for female cancer previvors and survivors that have undergone an oophorectomy or hysterectomy is sex following surgery. And as you may expect, it’s an issue that patients and clinicians don’t always know how to talk about or address. This can leave some women to feel that there is no hope of ever regaining a satisfying sex life.

However that is not the case. Last week we held a Tweet Chat with our amazing co-hosts Georgia HurstAmy Byer Shainman and special guest Sharon Bober, PhD to discuss the important nitty gritty details of sex after surgery, including the emotional toll of decreased libido and how to make sex pleasurable again. Dr. Bober is a Psychologist, Researcher and Director the of Sexual Health Program at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and works extensively with cancer previvors and survivors.

Top tips:

  • Go slowly
  • Communicate with your partner
  • Seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist

Here are some of the questions we asked and the personal experiences shared by participants:

As usual, we had a diverse crowd joining us:

Dave Dubin, founder aliveandKickn Lynch Syndrome foundation, above average soccer player and coach #Hcchat

— AliveAndKickn (@AliveAndKicknDD) April 30, 2015

#Hcchat I am an oncology advanced practice nurse, specialize in hereditary cancer syndromes

— Lisa Aiello (@crazyknit68) April 30, 2015

#Hcchat I am a host of a genetics podcast that educates the public on anything related to genetics — DNA Today (@DNApodcast) April 30, 2015

Hello all. Nancy here. Blogger, brca2+, advocate, bc cancer survivor – 5 yrs as of today actually, have had a lot of surgeries. #hcchat

— Nancy’s Point (@NancysPoint) April 30, 2015

Greetings all! I am a multivivor (#cancer 5times) w LiFraumeni! 22 yrs and hanging strong #hcchat — Linda Zercoe (@lindazercoe) April 30, 2015

How has surgery affected your sex life?

Back to regular Twitter. A2: Very difficult adj to no hormones and lack of hormones! No real support from med community! DEPRESSION #hcchat

— Linda Zercoe (@lindazercoe) April 30, 2015

A2 – long time adjusting to changes from chemo and surgery. Too busy trying to stay alive to complain about that aspect of life. #hcchat — Women of Teal (@womenofteal) April 30, 2015

Give us three words to describe your sex life post surgery:

@BRCAresponder#Hcchat Need to hit reset button; focus on pleasure, sensual stimulation, less focus on penetration alone helps!

— Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

@DrSharonBober@Hc_chat#Hcchat thankfully my sex life is good post hysterectomy. My 3 words Oh God yes! Lol — Karen Lazarovitz (@karenBRCAMTL) April 30, 2015

What has been helpful, emotionally or physically?

#Hcchat T5 Honestly, having a partner who isn’t scared of the medical things and will listen, respond, etc.

— Mutant Chic (@MutantChic) April 30, 2015

T5 – @Hc_chat My husband’s patience! #HCChat — Lee (@NJIvorygirl) April 30, 2015

A5: As w everything re: sex Partner, Patience, Communication and Imagination! Frustration doesn’t help #hcchat

— Linda Zercoe (@lindazercoe) April 30, 2015

What are some methods for improving sex drive?

@NJIvorygirl@Hc_chat#Hcchat Libido is recipe made up of many ingredients…fantasy, erotica, massage, power of mind.. — Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

Other words of wisdom and additional resources:

#cancersexnet#Hcchat Female ca survivors w vaginal atrophy who are moisturizing 3-5x week show significant benefit.

— Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) May 1, 2015

@LguzzardiM#Hcchat Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Rocks and one of the secrets no one knows about!! — Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

@crazyknit68#Hcchat BC survivors can definitely consider vaginal estrogen…decision best made with treatment team.

— Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

@NJIvorygirl#Hcchat Best to use a lubricant that is also moisturizing like Liquid Silk! KY is not my first choice! — Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

@NJIvorygirl#hcchat if you are in pain, please seek guidance. A good Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist should be able to assess… — Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

@DrSharonBober@NickiDurlester but vaginal health isn’t the same as sexual health. And don’t forget the vulva. #sexandcancer

— Don S Dizon (@drdonsdizon) April 30, 2015

@NJIvorygirl@Hc_chat#Hcchat guilt is not sexy…what about a joint expedition to find what feels nice, pleasurable, relaxing….no pressure

— Sharon L Bober (@DrSharonBober) April 30, 2015

#Sexuality & romantic relationships in young adult #cancer survivors: satisfaction & supportive care needs. #hcchathttp://t.co/7jUFQnkuDk — Lisa M Guzzardi, RN (@LguzzardiM) April 30, 2015

Read the full transcript here or search #Hcchat on Twitter. Have a question you didn’t get to ask? Please post in the comments below.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive notifications about upcoming discussions and other news. Also please follow our amazing co-hosts @Shewithlynch and @BRCAresponder and guest @DrSharonBober.