Better Sex After Hysterectomy?
Sex After a Hysterectomy
By Stacy Lloyd
Hysterectomy, the removal of a woman’s uterus, is the second most common surgery among women in the United States. Approximately 600,000 are performed each year. During a hysterectomy, a surgeon takes out the whole uterus or just part of it. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
Deciding whether to have a hysterectomy can be a difficult and emotional process. What happens to a woman’s sex life after hysterectomy? Concerns about sexual activity following surgery are common.
First there is mandatory recovery time. Patients need to wait about six weeks before resuming sexual activity. This gives the top of the vagina time to safely heal.
Many women do not notice any change in sexual activity following a hysterectomy. In fact, gynecologists typically suggest hysterectomy will improve sexual response. That is because hysterectomy is often performed to relieve chronic pain or excessive bleeding. Once the pain is gone, sexual interest is renewed and some even experience an increase in sexual pleasure. Plus not worrying about pregnancy can have a positive effect.
When it comes to achieving and experiencing orgasm, there may be some changes. The uterus elevates during sexual excitement and contracts with orgasm. Women who had a hysterectomy may notice a difference in these sensations. Some gain sexual pleasure and orgasm from direct stimulation to the cervix. Without their cervix, they may have trouble reaching orgasm or find their orgasms are less intense. Cervix removal can also affect vaginal lubrication.
Pre-menopausal women who have their ovaries removed during a hysterectomy may experience vaginal dryness which can make intercourse uncomfortable. Using a water-based lubricant, a vaginal estrogen cream or traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy, can alleviate the problem.
Psychological factors may also come into play. Changes in the way a woman feels about herself can directly impact sexual desire and satisfaction. The uterus is strongly associated with femininity and some women who have recently had a hysterectomy feel less womanly.
Pre-menopausal women who undergo the surgery to treat gynecological cancer may experience grief and possibly depression over the loss of fertility. For others, their menstrual cycle may have added to their sense of youthfulness. Women may also fear their partners will view them differently following a hysterectomy.
For those who experience sexual problems following a hysterectomy, visiting a psychologist, counselor or sex therapist may be helpful