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Sexuality, Intimacy & Menopause Program

The Sexuality, Intimacy, and Menopause Program is one of the only clinics of its kind in the country. By combining both medical and psychological interventions, it is designed to help women who experience sexual dysfunction after cancer. 

Sexual dysfunction after cancer is common; however, sexual side effects often go untreated after having successfully treated a patient’s cancer. Our doctors look to manage not only the physical issues, but also any psychological concerns that may arise.

Our Team

Founded by Elena Ratner, MD, MBA, associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and co-chief for the Section of Gynecologic Oncology, and Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, the clinic began nearly a decade ago. Psychologist Dwain Fehon, PsyD, associate professor of Psychiatry and chief psychologist of Psychiatric Services at Yale New Haven Hospital, is a vital member of the team. He and his staff provide essential emotional care that helps improve our patients’ relationships and personal health.

Our Approach

Many women have concerns related to intimacy and menopause because of cancer surgery or treatment. Our specialists consult with patients to address the difficult physical and emotional aspects of cancer care and treatment, and create a personalized care plan for each patient.

We have developed a unique focus on menopause management for cancer survivors and “previvors”—healthy women who have their breasts or ovaries removed because of a genetic risk of developing cancer.

Our Services

What types of patients do we see?

Women who experience:

  • Changes in sexual function as a result of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery for cancer
  • Menopause symptoms as a side effect of cancer treatment
  • Early menopause or sexual changes after surgery for cancer risk reduction

What we provide:

  • Menopause symptom management
  • Resources for cancer survivors on maintaining sexual health
  • Access to complementary and supportive services
  • Access to individual and couples counseling

What to expect from an appointment:

Our team will first discuss each patient’s medical and cancer history, as well as what type of treatment they have had. They will be asked about symptoms of menopause and sexual problems, such as hot flashes, night sweats, changes in sexual desire, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, or changes in mood or sleep patterns. Depending on their symptoms, patients may have a gynecologic exam.

The team will then discuss options for symptom management and improving their sexual health. They will also have the opportunity to talk about emotional and relationship issues affecting their life. Women are welcome to bring their partners to the appointment.