Issues of sexuality, intimacy, and early menopause significantly impact the quality of life of patients following the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. These are undertreated problems. Successful treatment requires the provider’s awareness of the problem, ability to identify it, and willingness to treat it.
Unfortunately many providers do not address these issues in the pretreatment or perioperative period. Furthermore, patients do not often alert their providers to their symptoms. While systemic hormone therapy may improve many of the issues, they are not appropriate for all patients given their action on estrogen receptors.
However, other nonhormonal treatments exist including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antiepileptics, natural remedies, and pelvic floor physical therapy. In addition psychological care and the involvement of the partner can be helpful in managing the sexual health concerns of these patients.
At the time of diagnosis or at initial consultation, women should be informed of the potential physiologic, hormonal, and psychosocial effects of ovarian cancer on sexuality and that there is a multimodal approach to dealing with symptoms.
Margaret Whicker MD, Jonathan Black MD, Gary Altwerger MD, Gulden Menderes MD, Jacqueline Feinberg MD, Elena Ratner MD
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 217, Issue 4, October 2017, Pages 395−403