How will a hysterectomy affect your life? As with other medical procedures, it’s important to think about this issue. The uterus’ removal in non-cancerous cases is usually the last option when other treatments haven’t worked. It’s also relatively common with about half a million women in the US alone having the surgery. You probably have many questions about the effects of the surgical procedure like sex after hysterectomy. For example, you might be wondering if you have to make any changes to your sex life after the procedure. As always knowing the basics will help to prepare you for the operation and give peace of mind.
The patient and her partner should be aware of how having a hysterectomy will affect their sex life. This can include several questions. How long will you have to wait? What will be the physical and mental effects? What are some warning signs to watch out for? These are all questions to ask about and try to find the answers to. One thing to remember is a hysterectomy can cause different results. The average time to wait for having sex again is six weeks. However, the recovery time could be shorter or longer based on various factors. The key is to have must-know facts.
What Is a Hysterectomy?
This is a type of operation that’s done to remove part or all of a woman’s uterus/womb. The procedure is done for a wide range of reasons. Some of the main purposes are to treat problems that cause:
- Pelvic pain
- Cancer of the uterus
- Thickening of the uterus
- Uterus sliding
If the woman doesn’t have cancer then a hysterectomy only becomes an option if other treatments were tried and none of them worked.
Surgeons conduct various types of hysterectomies. It’s important to know the main types of procedures done. For example, sometimes the ovaries and/or cervix are removed and in other cases, one or both remain.
The terms used for the different types of surgeries are different. For example, technically speaking a hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. Then both tubes and ovaries are also removed it’s a specific type of hysterectomy with a really long name.
If you’re wondering about if or how your sex life will change after this procedure then don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal and common for women to ask such questions after having the surgery. The key is to separate fact from fiction so you’ll have all the need-to-know info necessary to make informed decisions.
On one hand, women should expect to experience some side effects that are quite common after having a hysterectomy. These side-effects tend to be mild and happen during the first month or so of the procedure. They include:
- Blood loss
- Blood clots
- Anesthesia side-effects
- Damage to areas around uterus (e.g. nerves and blood vessels)
In terms of the woman’s sex drive, it often becomes as high as pre-surgery. Some women even share that it’s higher after the hysterectomy. What’s important is to keep in mind some key issues about what to expect in terms of one’s sex life after the procedure.
Key Issues about Sex after Hysterectomy
Here are some key issues to be aware of regarding your sex life after having a hysterectomy:
1. Average recovery time is 6 weeks
Take note this is the average recovery time so it might sooner or longer. However, women who have a hysterectomy should expect to wait up to about two months until they can be sexually active again. Just remember healing rates can be different.
Why is this timeline given? There are a few important signs that you could have sex again. For example, it’s important that the wounds have healed completely. It’s also important that all vaginal discharge from the surgery has stopped.
2. The joy of sex is usually the same
It’s important to note that a hysterectomy might cause some physical changes in the woman’s pelvic region. However, she can still have the same level of enjoyment when having sex. In fact, sometimes it’s even higher than before.
That’s because the procedure typically doesn’t affect the vagina’s sensation. The structure might change but typically this doesn’t reduce the woman’s enjoyment of sexual activity.
Take note this doesn’t mean that the woman’s sex drive is never affected by the hysterectomy. Sometimes it decreases as a result of other factors like hormonal changes due to ovary-removal, or the woman’s age. In other cases, it increases if the items removed caused the patient pain or discomfort.
3. Be ready emotionally for sex
A hysterectomy is a major surgery. It’s perfectly normal to not feel like having sex for many weeks or even months after the medical procedure.
Studies and surveys show that women feel differently about having sex after they’ve had a hysterectomy. This is based on various factors. They include the personal situation involving the procedure and also the reason the hysterectomy was needed.
Tips for Post-Hysterectomy Sex
After having a hysterectomy it’s important to know what to do and not do. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure to use lubrication
The reason is this can make sex more enjoyable for the woman. However, this product is especially helpful for women whose hysterectomy included having the ovaries removed.
2. Try different sexual positions
This isn’t always an easy topic for some sexual partners to talk about yet it could be an issue after a hysterectomy. Certain sexual positions might cause the woman to be uncomfortable due to factors like vaginal dryness. So, it’s important to consider using different ones.
3. Always watch for warning signs
After having a hysterectomy it’s important to watch for symptoms that you’re not fully recovered yet. If something doesn’t seem right then contact your physician immediately. It’s always better to be on the safe side. You might or might not be experiencing complications.
4. Allow enough healing time
The 6-week guideline is just that. It’s always critical to talk to your physician about when it’s safe to have sex again after a hysterectomy. Some women heal faster and others need more time. Always be on the safe side by not rushing into things.
5. Talk to your partner
It’s critical to talk with your sexual partner following a hysterectomy about how they feel about it. This is especially important if the procedure is painful/uncomfortable. This can be a tough time for both parties so it’s critical to talk about it.
The main benefit of these tips is helping to prevent worry and anxiety about being sexually active after a hysterectomy. The more you know the less likely you’ll have problems dealing with various issues related to your recovery as well as sex after hysterectomy.