anonymous on August 30, 2011

Can I have sex after a hysterectomy?

Is intercourse possible after a hysterectomy? Or will it cause damage?

answered by Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on August 30, 2011

Thanks so much for asking a question that’s on a lot of women’s minds.

The good news is that it’s totally fine to have sex after a hysterectomydoing so won’t cause any damage, regardless ofthe kind of hysterectomy performed. And once the uterus (or womb) is removed, your partner probably won’t notice that anything feels different, but be sure to ask your surgeon when it’s safe for you to resume having intercourse.

What about reaching orgasms after a hysterectomy? Depending on the reasons for a hysterectomy and what approach is used for the procedure, the cervix – which is the opening to the uterus – may or may not be removed, as well.

In some women, this may affect their sexual experience or ability to reach orgasm. Part of it may depend whether orgasm is reached from stimulation to the clitoris, your cervix, or even your breasts and nipples. Whatever the case for you,a 2003 study in the British Medical Journalfound that sexual pleasure tends to improve after a hysterectomy.

But again, everyone is different. So feel free to discuss your concern with your doctor before surgery. And don’t be embarrassed…it’s a really common question.

After a hysterectomy, some women say sex is the same and some say it’s a little different…butmany women actually say intercourse is better. Why? For one thing, once the pain, bleeding or other problems that were happening to make a hysterectomy necessary are gone, a woman may enjoy sex for the first time in a while. In fact,a 1999 study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that, for many women post-hysterectomy, frequency of sex increased, and orgasms were both more common and more likely to be stronger. Plus, because women no longer need to be concerned about getting pregnant, that level of stress is gone, too, perhaps enabling them to feel sexually freer and less inhibited than before.

That said, keep in mind that an oophorectomy – when your ovaries are removed along with your uterus – can causeimmediate or “surgical” menopause. Your doctor can tell you more about this, as relevant to your specific circumstances. In a nutshell, however, because the ovaries make estrogen, if they’re removed, women can start experiencing problems like vaginal dryness. Among other things, lubrication can help with dryness. But in this case, too, having sex doesn’t cause any damage in and of itself.

Thanks again for writing, and I wish you good health.

Related info:

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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