Physiotherapy Treatment in Women With Dyspareunia Following Gynecological Cancer: a Pilot Study

Official Title

Physiotherapy Treatment in Gynecological Cancer Survivors Suffering From Dyspareunia: a Mixed-Method Pilot Study


Gynecological cancers represent more than half of female cancers. It has been clearly established that cancer survivors suffer from important health issues such as pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) and sexual dysfunctions which sorely impact their quality of life. Although it affects more than 63% of cancer survivors, the available treatments remain limited and poorly studied. Cancer survivors are thus confronted with these health issues as well as relationship difficulties and psychological consequences, with limited treatment avenues. Addressing pelvic floor muscle dysfunctions and loss of vaginal elasticity, pelvic floor physiotherapy was shown to be effective in reducing or even alleviating dyspareunia and improving sexual function. Until now, no study investigated this treatment in gynecological cancer survivors with dyspareunia. Therefore, there is a need to examine pelvic floor physiotherapy to determine whether or not gynecological cancer survivors with dyspareunia could benefit from this treatment. The objectives of this single-arm mixed-method study are to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a physiotherapy treatment in gynecological cancer survivors suffering from dyspareunia and to explore treatment effects. This single-arm study using mixed methods will involve three data collections (pre- and post-treatment assessments). These assessments will be carried out by physiotherapists. Participants will receive physiotherapy treatment weekly in individual 60-minute sessions for 12 weeks. Thirty-one gynecological cancer survivors with vulvovaginal pain during sexual intercourse for at least 3 months will be recruited. The results of this study will bring new information regarding physiotherapy treatment for this population in preparation for a definitive randomized controlled trial.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Adherence rates
  • Retention rate
Secondary Outcome:
  • Change from baseline in pain
  • Change from baseline in sexual function
  • Change from baseline in pelvic floor muscle function
  • Change from baseline in quality of life
  • Patient's global impression of change
  • Adverse events

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Canadian Cancer Society

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