Treatment for Discharge After Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a common disorder in women. Roughly eight out of every 1000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. If detected early, it's curable as much as 75 to 90 percent of the time. Common treatments like radiotherapy, laser surgery and cryotherapy have a variety of side effects—increased vaginal discharge often being among them. Vaginal discharge is also a possible symptom of cervical cancer.

  1. Significance

    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge are possible symptoms of invasive cervical cancer. If your vaginal discharge is caused by an invasive tumor, treating the cancer will be the best way to deal with the problem. Treatments like radiotherapy, laser surgery and cryosurgery can also cause light bleeding or spotting for a couple weeks after the procedure; heavier or more prolonged discharge following treatment for cervical cancer can point to other conditions.

    Effects

    • Typically cervical cancers that cause abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge have already spread to the surrounding tissue. Common interventions in these cases include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hysterectomy. Some of these treatments, however, can cause vaginal bleeding or discharge, among other side effects.

    Considerations

    • Light discharge and spotting are common for a week or so following cryosurgery, laser surgery and excisional biopsy, and physicians may recommend you refrain from sexual activity and not use tampons during this time period. Similarly, discharge and slight bleeding for a few weeks following radiotherapy are normal and doesn't typically require treatment. When vaginal discharge becomes heavy or prolonged, however, it could point to another problem that may require treatment; if you experience heavy discharge or vaginal bleeding persists for more than a couple weeks you should notify your doctor.

    Solutions

    • It's not very common, but infections can occur following radiotherapy or other procedures; radiotherapy can increase susceptibility to infection by reducing white blood cell count. Heavy or prolonged vaginal discharge is a common sign of infection. If you experience these symptoms, your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics as treatment. The type of antibiotic or drug your doctor prescribes will depend on the type of infection.

    Prevention

    • The vagina is often tender or inflamed following pelvic radiotherapy and sometimes the vaginal tissue can scar, causing bleeding after sex. Using a vaginal dilator to stretch the walls of the vagina may help to reduce pain and bleeding associated with sex following treatment for cervical cancer. As always, the above is not intended as medical advice; if you have any questions about your condition, the best person to consult is your doctor.

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