Intimacy After a Hysterectomy
Your intimate relationship doesn't have to give...
Getting a hysterectomy may not be uncommon these days, but it still counts as major surgery. And, as with any such experience, you have a few concerns regarding recovery time and, of course, whether things between you and your partner can go back to how they were prior to the surgery.
Though you should expect some changes post-surgery your relationship with your partner should not be significantly affected in the long run. In fact, it may even improve. Without the discomfort you felt before the surgery, you’ll have more time to focus on your partner and connect over various facets of your relationship.
The waiting period
Your doctor will probably advise that you avoid intercourse for at least four to six weeks after your surgery. But, if you don’t feel up to it even after six weeks have passed, that's fine. Remember that there are lots of things you can do to continue to connect with your partner without actually having sex, such as cuddling, kissing or even talking to each other. So if your libido is willing but the flesh is weak, use this time to explore other forms of intimacy.
Relax and have fun discovering, or perhaps re-discovering, your intimate connection with your partner...
Hysterectomy surgery removes your uterus from your abdominal cavity. A total hysterectomy also removes your cervix while a partial leaves it intact. More than half the time, your ovaries will be removed during a hysterectomy along with your uterus and fallopian tubes. Without your ovaries present to produce estrogen, your body immediately enters menopause, commonly resulting in a decreased libido and dryness. In fact, increased vaginal dryness was the most commonly reported side effect post-hysterectomy according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Hormone replacement can help with some of the symptoms of menopause, and products such as K-Y® lubricants can help with occasional vaginal dryness, both inside and outside of the bedroom. K-Y® Liquibeads is a great choice if you are looking for long-lasting moisture.
Loss of sensation
You may also worry about the loss of sensation after a hysterectomy, or that you might have a harder time achieving orgasm than before your surgery. But, not to worry – a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center in 1999 showed that not only was there no loss in sensation for the majority of women, orgasm strength may have actually improved post-surgery. So, relax and have fun discovering, or perhaps re-discovering, your intimate connection with your partner.
In fact, many women find that sex after a hysterectomy is more enjoyable than it was before. Partly this is because a hysterectomy often relieves symptoms of pain and discomfort that were hindering pleasure before the surgery. The other part may be that there's no more need to worry about unplanned pregnancy.
Your patterns of intimacy may change after your hysterectomy, but if you follow the lead of your body, you may find that satisfaction comes at least as easily as before. This life-changing experience can also help you and your partner connect and discover each other in new ways.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Sexual Relations Improve After Hysterectomy
- National Health Service: Sex After Hysterectomy
- Cleveland Clinic: What You Need To Know About Hysterectomy
- U.S. Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health: Hysterectomy Fact Sheet
- OBG Management: Remove the Ovaries at Hysterectomy? Here’s the Lowdown on Risks and Benefits
About the Author
Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, popular music, film and video, food and cooking. Her work has appeared in "Curve Magazine," "Girlfriends," "Libido," "The Children's Advocate," Decider.com, "The SF Weekly," SexIs.com, EthicalFoods.com and GoMag.com. She is also the co-editor of the fifth edition of the landmark sexuality resource guide "The Black Book."SHARE