Pelvic floor dysfunction is very common among breast cancer survivors.

Patients can experience pelvic floor dysfunction as a result of breast cancer treatment.  However, it’s not just surgery & radiation to the pelvic floor that causes these issues.

Many patients can develop genitourinary issues as a result of their hormonal therapy.  

Common pelvic floor side effects from breast cancer treatment.

Hormonal therapy directly impacts the pelvic floor tissues.  Thus, this patient population commonly experiences pelvic floor dysfunction.

Alex commonly treats patients experiencing painful intercourse/penetration.  She frequently discusses the use of dilators/trainers with her patients, as well as lubricants or moisturizers to help address these issues.

She also frequently sees patients with urinary incontinence, that may or may not have been present prior to the breast cancer diagnosis & treatment.

While not as common, breast cancer survivors can also experience bowel dysfunction, including constipation & straining to have a bowel movement.  

OncoPTs should & must be screening our patients for pelvic floor dysfunction.

Alex recommends that every patient is screened for bowel, bladder, & sexual dysfunction.  If nothing else, we should be doing this from a red flag perspective.

“Cancer diagnosis is not the only red flag.”

Our own discomfort with asking these questions & discussing this matter keeps us from connecting our patients with the resources they need the most.

How do we find a pelvic floor PT for our patient when we don’t treat pelvic floor dysfunction?

Be aware that not every case of constipation is a fiber issue – there are different types of constipation.

Do the corn test!  

Use some handouts discussing the importance of moving, adequate water, & fiber intake to help with constipation.  

Urinary: not always about the kegel.

  • Try to elicit the cause of the incontinence or urgency

Sexual dysfunction:

  • Good Clean Love lubricant

More from Alex

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