Severe vaginal scaring due to 3rd degree radiation burns
I recently went through chemo/radiation therapy to my gental region. In my research I had read that a vaginal spacer should be indicated to prevent shrinking due to scarring. My radiology doctor said this was unessesary and sadly I trusted him. A few days ago I went to my gynocologist because I found my vagina had closed! Basically scar tissue had begun to fuse my vaginal walls due to the scar tissue growing together. After many attempts at inserting a speculum (sp?), each smaller than the next, and great pain, he was only able to insert his pinky finger into my vagina. He then told me the radiation treatments had caused severe scarring and that I will never again be able to have intercourse. Nor was he able to do a pap smear. He did however suggest using vaginal dilators & prescribed estrogen cream. This was my first vist to this doctor as my last one recently retired. He was very pleasant and had a very good bedside manor, but is an elderly gentleman and has "been in the business" for a very long time. He did not seem to be "up to date" or modern in his thinking. Is there anything else that can be done, such as surgery or perhaps laser treatments? Or will these options just compound the problem? I'm devastated and heartbroken. My sex life should not be over at 47! My husband and I had a very active sex life before the cancer and would like to once again.
Hi. I am no Doctor, but given that they do vaginal reconstruction all over the world, I really don't see how "re-opening" it (through surgery) is something impossible. I am sure you need to see a plastic surgeon and/or very highly qualified gynecologist that has extensive experience. I don't believe your situation is irreparable!
This is the prolapse Urogyne forum Bobbikey. Dilators and estrogen cream is used for prolapse as well both pre and post surgery for many ladies. I use both the dilator and estrogen cream to maintain the vaginal skin as well as stretch the vagina as my muscles have become too tight in order to exercise and maintain my pelvic floor strength. There are different reasons for the use of dilators. I can see why this has been advised for you to use and you get different size dilators in the kit so you can start really small.
I am not familiar with chemo or radiation in this area but do know of ladies who are unable to have intercourse due to prolapse either pre or post prolapse operation but do feel your condition is worth pursuing with another consultant opinion and also a womens physio therapist. Womens physios can help for all sorts of vaginal conditions and often deal with scar tissue as well with myofacial release and other methods.
I would start by getting a second opinion from a good Urogynecologist and ask questions about what can be done as well as what effect any remedy would have on your vaginal strength regarding pelvic organ support. Ask your GP as well as your Urogyne for a good womens Physo and go step by step in finding the right treatment for you. A plastic surgeon may be a good idea, however, I do feel a Urogyne is the best starting point as they are trained to do operations in this area.
I hope this helps... post your question again on the ask a doctor side of the forum. Let us know how you get on.
First of all I am very sorry for what you are going through but I do believe there is hope to fix your situation. The first step I would take is to research a good pelvic pain physical therapist. They are specially trained to deal with problems in the pelvic area. There are different modalities that they can use to help you. Then I would try to find a good urogynecologist. I have come across women who had problems from radiation and their vagina so I know there is help for you. Best wishes
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