For most women, a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) shouldn’t interfere with their sexuality. In fact, a lot of people find that it enhances it.
However, it’s important to let your body heal before starting sex again. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends waiting for 6 weeks to have penetrative sex.
How long should I wait?
A hysterectomy can have emotional and physical effects on women, which can impact their desire for sex. Some women also report feeling less feminine or empty after a hysterectomy. This can make it difficult to get into a sexual position and may even cause pain during intercourse. Women experiencing painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia, should seek treatment. This can include pelvic physical therapy, o-shots, or laser vaginal rejuvenation.
In general, doctors recommend waiting at least six weeks before having penetrative sex after a hysterectomy. However, some women may feel ready sooner. During this time, it’s important to practice safe penetration with foreplay and avoid positions that put pressure on the pelvic area or incision sites.
It’s also important to discuss sex after a hysterectomy with your partner. Many women fear that sex will be different after the procedure, but it’s usually not as bad as they think. In fact, it could be more pleasurable and healthier. It’s also important to use a condom to prevent pregnancy and STIs.
Some women experience pain and/or vaginal discharge after a hysterectomy, which can be frustrating. These symptoms are typically caused by hormone imbalances and can be treated with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). BHRT is similar to menopause relief medication and can help restore the normal function of your body after a hysterectomy.
What can I do?
It’s recommended that women avoid sexual intercourse until their scars have healed and any vaginal discharge has stopped. This typically takes around four to six weeks after surgery, but everyone heals differently and at their own pace. Attempting to have sex before your body has had time to heal can lead to pain and bleeding.
If you are feeling ready for sex, consider using personal lubricants and easing into penetration with fingers or small toys. You can also use numbing creams or tablets to make sex more comfortable. It’s important to practice with your partner, discuss what feels good or not and experiment to find the right fit.
The good news is that most women’s sex lives stay the same or even improve after a hysterectomy, according to several studies. A hysterectomy can eliminate many of the symptoms that made sexual intercourse uncomfortable or difficult before, such as pain and heavy bleeding.
However, if you had your ovaries removed during your hysterectomy, this may trigger menopause and reduce your sex drive because hormone levels are reduced. If you are experiencing this, Nava Health can help you restore your natural hormones through Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). We have found that using BHRT, in combination with pelvic physical therapy and Kegel exercises, helps restore a woman’s sex drive after a hysterectomy.
What if I don’t feel ready?
It’s possible that some people never want to have any kind of sex, and that’s fine for them. However, if you decide that you’ll only engage in sexual activities when you feel ready for them, then you’ve got to honor your feelings and stick with what you want. If your boyfriend says that he’s willing to wait until you feel ready for sex, then he’s going to have to stand by his word. And if you ever wind up in a situation where you don’t want to be sexual at all, then you’ll know that you made the right choice. Dare to not feel ready. It’s overrated anyway. You’ll always feel ready eventually. Just be patient. It will come. And it’ll be worth the wait.
What if I’m experiencing pain?
Many women have a hysterectomy to help alleviate symptoms such as heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding, endometriosis, or gynecological cancer. While the surgery permanently changes some aspects of a woman’s life, it does not affect sexual pleasure, even in cases where ovaries are removed (for example, in a partial hysterectomy or a radical hysterectomy).
Some people will go home on the same day as their surgery, but others may stay in the hospital for up to 24 hours until they can walk around and feel comfortable enough to urinate without a urinary catheter. A catheter is inserted until a woman feels she can empty her bladder on her own again.
If you experience pain at the incision site, drainage from the incision, or increased vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. If you have abdominal surgery, a doctor will usually recommend resting in bed as much as possible, especially for two weeks after the procedure. During this time, you should not lift anything heavy such as bags of shopping, which can strain your abdominal muscles and the incision site.
A less invasive type of hysterectomy, called laparoscopic hysterectomy, involves small incisions in the abdomen and is often recommended for younger women who have benign conditions like fibroids or endometriosis or for people who are having difficulty getting pregnant. While laparoscopic hysterectomy is minimally invasive, it can take up to four hours and you’ll have stitches that will need to heal.