Vaginal dryness, sensation and orgasm Sex after hysterectomy How a hysterectomy might affect your sex life, how long you should wait before having sex again and how to cope with issues such as vaginal dryness.
It takes time to get back to normal after an operation , but having a hysterectomy can have a strong emotional impact too, which can affect how you feel about sex.
If you experience problems with sex after your operation, don't suffer in silence. There is help available — you can talk to your GP or a counsellor. How long should you wait before having sex after a hysterectomy? You will be advised not to have sex for around four to six weeks after having a hysterectomy. If you don't feel ready for sex after six weeks, don't worry — different women feel ready at different times.
There are many different types of hysterectomy , which will affect how it is performed and what is removed. A total hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus womb and cervix.
If the cervix remains intact, this is a subtotal hysterectomy. Which organs are removed will depend on your own personal circumstances and the reasons you're having a hysterectomy.
This includes women who have had a hysterectomy. Your doctor may be able to offer treatment, and can check that everything is healing well. Many women also talk about feelings of loss or sadness after a hysterectomy. However, these feelings should pass. If you're finding it hard to cope with these emotions, talk to your GP or consultant. You may be able to have counselling to help you work through your feelings. Find a counsellor near you. It can also help to read about how other women have coped with similar experiences.
The change in hormone levels that occur during the menopause can affect your sex life. Sex drive Some women have less interest in sex after having a hysterectomy. If this happens to you, your interest in sex may return as your recovery progresses. If you and your partner feel it's a problem, talk about it together so that it doesn't become an unspoken issue between you.
You can also talk to your GP or find a counsellor who can offer help with sexual problems. Lack of sex drive can be made worse by depression , menopausal symptoms , relationship problems and stress. These problems are often temporary, but if symptoms of the menopause or depression persist, see a doctor. Treating menopausal symptoms may boost your sex drive indirectly by improving your general wellbeing and energy levels.
Read more about keeping the lust alive. Vaginal dryness, sensation and orgasm Having a hysterectomy doesn't mean you can't have an orgasm. You still have your clitoris and labia, which are highly sensitive. It's not known what role the cervix plays in orgasm. Some experts have argued that removing the cervix can have an adverse effect, but others have found that it doesn't. This included reduced feeling when their partner penetrated their vagina, a dry vagina and less intense orgasms.
If, before hysterectomy, you had noticeable uterine contractions during orgasm you may find you don't experience these anymore. If your hysterectomy has made your vagina feel drier than it used to be, try using a sexual lubricant.
You can buy these over the counter at a pharmacy. Your surgeon will have advised you to do pelvic floor exercises to help your recovery. These exercises can also tone up the muscles of your vagina and help improve sexual sensation. Other women in the study mentioned above said their hysterectomy had removed their pre-surgery symptoms such as pain , and they had a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has leaflets about recovering after hysterectomy: