femara side effects - loss of sex drive, vaginal dryiness and sensitivity et al

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thetwizzle
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/14/2011 4:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi,
 
I have been on Femara for about 9 months and have  had sex twice since, due to the vaginal dryness and sensitivity, I cannot stand my husband  to go near my vagina, if he does, it get very tender and sore, and makes intercourse very painful.  Also, I have lost all interest in sex, whether it be foreplay or full blown intercourse. I feel as if my body has shut down. All I want to do is sleep, but can not have a good night's sleep. After a couple of hours, I wake up and just toss and turn, due to pain in my muscles. I can cope with that if I have to for 5 years, but the loss of my sex drive is really getting to me. Everytime I think about it I just get so depressed.
 
I have a very patient, loving and understanding husband, but feel that it going to get to a point that he gets fed up and goes elsewhere.
 
Has anyone else had this experience

barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 4/15/2011 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I have never taken Femara, so haven't had your experience. However, I really hope you have talked to your doctor about all of this. There are lubricants for vaginal dryness, and I would lose all interest in sex if it was that painful, as well! It doesn't sound like you just get depressed, it sounds like you could be considered clinically depressed. Please talk to your doctor! Hope things get better for you... We all have to weigh the benefits of a drug against the side effects and decide if it is worth it. Femara is not the only drug out there...

Hugs...
BEV

TSinAK
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 4/22/2011 2:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I stopped Femara after four months. Yes, sex was very painful and lubricants didn't make it any better. Dr suggested other ways ( mouth or hand ) to satisfy but I didn't even want to share a room with him. I went for a second opinion for taking AIs and was told that if I want to be part of that 97% that live 5 years I have to take them. I started Aromasin about 30 days ago and the vaginal dryness does not seem as bad as with Femara although I am still trying to control the pain in my hands that started just 2 weeks into Femara.
The most frustrating part of all this is the Drs say it's not the drug - must be something else. I found the website askpatient.com and 99% of postings are the same side effects that I had.
My new oncologist said if one AI does not work for you take another ( there are 3 brands ) and if those don't work for me then Tamoxafin and if that doesn't work well, hopefully there will be something else on the market by then.
I take an additional 3 meds to control side effects.
Talk to your oncologist about how you feel and don't be afraid to ask for other meds that will help you through this treatment. It won't last for ever.


dx 5/2010
IDC & ILC
2 lumpectomy
6.5 weeks radiation
AI therapy

CK from Florida
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/7/2011 7:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I have the same pain and dryness from Femara (and now Letrozle, the generic brand). I have been to three diff doctors, and they all say it's in my head. They deny that this could be from this drug. They are wrong. 2 weeks after taking Tamoxifin (which I was first on) , I had the most painful experience I had ever known. It felt like I was on fire. Lubricant only makes it burn more. Any lubricant burns even before attempting sex, just applying it starts a fire. I cannot use any soap in the shower, or it burns like fire. My female oncologist could only suggest Replens, a vaginal moisturizer. She said you had to use it regularly, not just before sex. She said it might take a week or two before it had a noticable affect. My female gyn didn't believe me, and a male gyn just gave me papers about Susan Sommers hocus pocus healing.  I have not had sex in two years because of the pain. All women out there....you are not crazing! It's a side affect whether anyone believes it or not!

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3536
   Posted 8/7/2011 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I tried all 3 AIs and tamoxifen too. They all gave me such pain, all the other side effects, that I had to stop taking anything. I ended up having trigger finger surgery from the effects of the meds.

After a year being off the meds I am still not interested in sex, and it hurts too much to even try. Fortunately there are other ways to satisfy our partners, and they do deserve to have us try.
Alcie
 
 

CK from Florida
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/7/2011 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Speaking of trigger finger....one of my toes went number right after beginning this drug. Then,  I kept stubbing it, and now, it's frozen and doesn't wiggle with the rest of my toes. But the pain is awful if I bump it.  Now the toe next to it is showing the signs of doing the same thing. I also discussed this with my oncologist who said it had nothing to do with chemo, but now I'l thinking it's the Femera. Anyone else have problems with their toes?

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3536
   Posted 8/8/2011 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Not toes, but 3 pills of Aromasin was all it took to give me the trigger fingers and the most horrible arthritis-like pain, so bad I couldn't take any more. I had tried Arimidex, didn't tolerate after 3 months. Then came Femara, which I put up with for half a year, but was practically crawling to the kitchen for Rx pain meds.

The trigger fingers came on fast - three days - and they didn't go away even though I stopped the Aromasin, so I had to have surgery after a year of pain.

I think docs just believe what the drug companies tell them - generally well tolerated - unless patients figure it out for themselves and complain. In truth, many women seem not to be particularly bothered, but older women with tendencies toward arthritis have a bad time. I'm part of a study group at U. Pit.
Alcie
 
 

CK from Florida
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/8/2011 5:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie,
I hope something good comes your way. Thanks for sharing. Cindy

mommyjpg
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/18/2012 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I am on Femara now for 9 months as well and also have no sex drive and have the same pain. I want to show my husband this so he sees why I am going through this. Anybody come up with some ways to deal with this side effect?

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3536
   Posted 9/25/2012 7:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I went to a seminar once where we patients suggested bad side effects might be related to age or problems like arthritis we might already have. From posts I have seen it seems the older the patient the worse the pain.

I've been off all the meds for 2 years now, just getting blood tests twice a year. But I had only a small tumor with oncotype only 7 and I had very low estrogen to start with.

My gynecologist mentioned estrogen cream but thought it was too dangerous with an estrogen positive tumor history even though only 1% is absorbed throughout the body.

Sex is still impossible for me, but I do try as often as I can to take care of my spouse in other ways.

Act III
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/16/2013 12:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry to come to this discussion so late...hope my perspective helps.
 
First...the dryness, etc., is NOT in your head. It is very real...very much akin to what I went through with menopause which should be no surprise since Femara shuts down estrogen...like menopause.
 
Menopause was not much of an issue for me at the time as I was single. Then at 56 I met a wonderful man and fell deeply in love. Sex was painful...surprisingly so. But, my love is a gentle, big teddy bear of a man and I discovered that lubrication helps...and so does frequent love-making. We had a wonderful sex life. It truly was a use it or lose it scenario. Then last year, just after my 60th birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I chose a bilateral mastectomy and the lymph nodes removed on my left side (the side of the tumor). Shortened story...no radiation, no chemo, but Femara strongly recommended. I have been taking it for over a year now. Here's what I discovered...
 
Back to square one...everything dried up...even more so. Yes...lubricant helps (indulge in the ones that warm up) but it's not the same. Yes...increased frequency helps...but that's not the same either. What I found helps the most is lots of foreplay and changing positions. I love being held and snuggled so missionary was always my favorite. But...it's the most painful...not uncomfortable...painful. My being on top is best. With generous lubricant and frequency, making love is very enjoyable again. The best part is that by being on top YOU set the pace which means you can go slower and take your time. It's uncomfortable at first...but you can get beyond it.  The days of instant sex are behind me...but not wonderful love-making.
 
The wonderful thing about my guy is that he is patient and loving and generous. Even more, it's not that the mastectomy didn't make a difference, to him there is no difference. My breasts are not what he loved...I am. Oh...and here's another thing I discovered. Your chest is still very sensitive and gentle kisses and caressing (like before the surgery) can still be very arousing...which also helps.
 
Side effects to Femara are very real. Any doctor who says otherwise never talks/listens to his patients. I've gained 15 pounds, have minor joint and muscle aches, and dryness is REAL. BUT...I am "knock wood" cancer free and looking forward to ACT III of my life. If Femara keeps cancer from coming back, well, all of life is trade-offs. Hope this helps.
 
 

chepa
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/14/2013 12:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for all your comments about the side effects of femara on sex drive. I have been on femara since April of 2011.  I have no desire for sex.  My private parts bleed and are chaffed.  I cannot sleep well.  I have gained weight and my joints hurt all the time.  My oncologist says that I have vaginal atrophy but I know it has been caused by the femara.  Thank god for an understanding partner but I worry that this is hurting our relationship.  Your comments helped me see that this is not just in my head. 
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