Cochrane Summaries

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Vaginal dilators and intercourse are useful for alleviating post-radiotherapy vaginal problems, but more evidence is required to assess oestrogens and benzydamine

Denton AS, Maher J
Published Online: 
15 August 2012

The physical side effects of radiotherapy to the female pelvis may lead to difficulty and/or pain during intercourse. Studies of treatments (vaginal oestrogens, benzydamine douches, dilators, and intercourse) were neither recent nor good quality. This review endorses the current recommendation of using dilators and/or intercourse to prevent vaginal narrowing, however although some studies recommend the use of vaginal oestrogen or benzydamine douches, they are not statistically significant and large randomized trials are required to assess their effectiveness.

This record should be cited as: 
Denton AS, Maher J. Interventions for the physical aspects of sexual dysfunction in women following pelvic radiotherapy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD003750. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003750
Assessed as up to date: 
7 September 2002