Is it possible to have sex after hysterectomy?
Despite what many people believe, sex after hysterectomy can be quite enjoyable as you do not experience any more abdominal pain.
Despite fears that sex after hysterectomy can be challenging, a new study has proved otherwise.
Research conducted by the National Institute of Health, US, showed no signs of lowered sex drive, sexual satisfaction or even self-image in women who underwent the surgical procedure.
In fact, in most cases, the opposite was true. Women were more active and continued to enjoy intimacy during sex after hysterectomy.
But why is it assumed that sex after a hysterectomy will be painful, uncomfortable, or even non-existent? We find out.
Sex after hysterectomy: Is it possible?
Yes, it is! But before jumping into the aftermath of this surgical procedure, let’s understand the procedure itself.
A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. This procedure can relieve pain and the possibility of any illness related to the uterus. It is usually performed on women suffering from the following conditions:
- To remove uterine fibroids. These are benign lumps that grow inside the uterus and cause heavy bleeding, cramping, painful sex and a constant urge to pee.
- To correct uterine prolapse. This is when the uterus slides from its original position and goes in towards the vaginal canal.
- To remove cancer or the cervix or the uterus. A hysterectomy can also remove cancer cells or tumour from the cervix or the ovaries.
- To treat Endometriosis. In this condition the uterine lining develops outside the uterus and it could lead to infertility, heavy bleeding and even abdominal pain.
- To treat Adenomyosis. This is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the uterine muscle wall. It can lead to abdominal pain and heavy bleeding.
Now having a hysterectomy can help you relieve abdominal pain and get rid of a serious ailment.
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And based on your medical condition, they can perform three types of surgeries.
- Total hysterectomy: In this procedure, doctors remove the entire uterus, including the cervix. They may also remove your Fallopian tubes as well as ovaries along with the uterus.
- Partial hysterectomy: During this procedure, the surgeons only remove the top part of the uterus, leaving the cervix as is. This is also called the supracervical or subtotal hysterectomy.
- Radical hysterectomy: As the name suggests, in this surgery the doctor removes the entire uterus, tissue lining on either side of the cervix, and the top part of the vagina.
Although none of these procedures are highly risky, like any surgery, hysterectomy also has its fair share of side effects.
For instance, you will experience bleeding and abdominal pain for weeks following the procedure. A recent study revealed the procedure also puts some women at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
And as for sex after hysterectomy… your sex life will also get affected by this surgery for some time. However, in the long-run, it shouldn’t prevent you from having sex.
How soon can you start having sex after hysterectomy?
Similar to any other medical procedure, recovery from a hysterectomy will also take some time. Ideally, your body should heal within two to three months. Experts will recommend you stay away from sexual activities till that time.
In fact, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that you do not insert any object into your vagina for the first six to eight weeks after the procedure.
Also remember that you might experience light bleeding and some discharge after the surgery. And of course, you will no longer experience the menstrual cycle. With your uterus removed, you might also notice menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and even joint pains.
Will your hysterectomy change how you have sex?
A hysterectomy will most certainly pause your sex life. But it will not end your desire for sex.
In fact, a review study by the National Institute of Health proved that many women did not experience any change in their sex life post a hysterectomy. For some, sex life either improved or stayed the same. They also stated that they felt free from abdominal pain during sex.
You should note that a hysterectomy can lower your libido. That’s because ovaries produce the two hormones estrogen and testosterone that are responsible for creating a desire for sex. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy sex. You most certainly can!
What about your orgasm?
Now as far as this is concerned, there is a chance that you may either experience a less intense orgasm or none at all. This happens because in the process of removing the uterus, many nerves that lead to a climax also get cut.
Many nerves in the cervix also lead to climax and a total removal of the uterus might also lead to a less intense climax. But you should note that this is rare.
Interestingly, a study by the University Medical Centre Utrecth, Netherlands, researchers found sex after hysterectomy to be much better. The researchers found that this can be identified by the type of hysterectomy. For instance, since female orgasm involves deep pelvic contractions, a hysterectomy could affect sensation in that area.
Speaking on the subject, expert Jennifer Berman, MD, co-director of the Female Sexual Medicine Center at UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, told webmd, “Those women will still have clitoral orgasms, albeit less intense and less satisfying, they won’t lose that ability altogether.”
So having said that, will intercourse still feel the same to you?
Will sex feel the same after hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy doesn’t affect any sensation in your vagina. Although removing your uterus and ovaries will put you into a forced menopause.
Unfortunately this means that your vagina will become unnaturally dry, and sex may become painful. In this case you can use a silicone-based lubricant or Vaginal estrogen creams or even tablets and rings. Discussing this issue with your doctor also will give you some insight on how to improve your sex life.
Give yourself time!
A hysterectomy shouldn’t put you off sex. Your sex life will go back to normal. All you need to do is to be patient. Wait for a a few weeks before having sex.
Once the waiting period is over, you can try different positions and experiment to spice things up. And finally, the most important thing is to be honest and open with your partner. Tell them about the kind of difficulties you are facing while having sex. And seek help from a counsellor, if needed.
What do you need to remember after a hysterectomy?
Once you are through the six to eight week waiting period, your sex life will go back to normal. If you still face pain during sex, or notice some irregular periods or heavy bleeding, immediately refer to your doctor.
Together with your partner, you can make this process easier and strategise a way to keep your sex life interesting.