What are possible sexual side effects of radiation treatment for cancer?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Radiation treatment for prostate cancer can damage the nerves and vessels that serve the penis. It may also affect testosterone levels, leading to low libido and erection difficulties. Men who've had this therapy may have problems getting or keeping an erection. Women who have had radiation to the pelvic area can develop scar tissue in the lining of the vagina that can cause pain during intercourse. Side effects of radiation treatment -- such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea -- are also deterrents to sexual activity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.