Some are sad. Some are horrific. And some are just plain inept. These stories started with a signature on the bottom of a consent form that gave license to remove organs and tissue believed to be contributing to the problem. The woman had her chance to ask questions but what questions can you ask if you know nothing about the operation or its effects. Of the 55,000 hysterectomies performed every year in the UK, the vast majority are ‘total’. This means that the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix are removed. There may also be some shortening/scarring of the vagina and occasionally accidental damage to the bowel (due to its physical proximity to the cervix).

In France fewer hysterectomies are performed per head of population since many gynaecological problems are dealt with through less radical operations. Unlike the UK, most hysterectomies that are performed are sub-total i.e. they leave a perfectly healthy cervix in place where there are no medical reasons for its removal. As a consequence the issues of vaginal shortening or scarring don’t arise and accidental damage to the bowel is rare. But perhaps there is a more profound reason for leaving a perfectly health cervix in place. The Hysterectomy Association receives hundreds of letters about another form of damage – damage to the couple’s physical relationship. Some medical research is only now being undertaken into the effects of hysterectomy, particularly the removal of the cervix, on the intensity and even the capability of achieving orgasm. Generally, an orgasm will depend on three things, how you feel emotionally about yourself and your partner at the time, the amount and quality of foreplay and once above the ‘orgasmic threshold’ the amount and quality of clitoral stimulation. As orgasm approaches, the padded third of the vaginal barrel grips the penis and the musculature of the pelvic muscles, within which the cervix resides, go into mild spasm. This is followed by a series of rhythmic convulsive contractions occurring at one second intervals. The clenching and unclenching of the pelvic muscles is accompanied by subjective feelings of intense pleasure known as orgasm. Where the cervix is removed and the vagina shortened or scarred, there can be a considerable reduction in the orgasmic intensity for both the woman and her partner.

It has been suggested that the rationale behind total hysterectomies as opposed to sub-total is upon grounds of training, cost and/or ignorance. Can it be possible that predominately male gynecologists are ignorant of the effect that unnecessary removal of healthy organs has upon a woman’s sexuality? In one ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme, one consultant gynecologist was amazed that a 59 year old woman should be concerned about the effect of hysterectomy on her sex life, as if she should be bothered at that age!

It has been very difficult to write this article. I am aware that reading it should perhaps carry a health warning since a major indicator of the success of any major surgery is the psychological preparedness of the patient. The psychology of sexuality is even more fragile. However, I feel that the need justifies the means and risks involved so that the thousands of women considering hysterectomy can insist upon full information provision before signing the consent form.

Recommended Reading:

star buy Losing the Woman Within – £5.50. is essential reading for everyone who feels they are alone and emotional following a hysterectomy.

Recommended Resources:

16 Responses to “The unkindest cut of all – removal of the cervix”
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  1. I wish I would have read this beforehand partial hysterectomy. It was recommended by my Dr. to have my cervix removed along with my uterus. He said if I had it removed I wouldn’t have to have paps anymore, and I would still have light bleeding monthly. He said sex would be the same. It’s not! My vaginal canal is much shorter so sex is painful every time. :(


    I was told i had fibroids in my uterus & needed a hysterectomy. The only other. Thing that was talked about were my ovaries, that i had been having cysts on since i had my son in 83. I started perimenopause at 35 & thank god my Dr treated my symptoms, life was great!

    I had not had sex in 12 years by the time i was 36. I ended up homeless &before that i met a man, worse thing to happen to me but, we became sexually involved he moved it. I started having bleeding during or after sex which was not normal. For me! I was taking depo shots for the ovarian cysts, they pretty much stopped the cysts as well as all bleeding! Until I unknowingly developed the fibroid cysts. Dr i had just met told me i had to stop my hormone therapy before he would do surgery, to find out if my ovaries worked or not.

    I was barely awake after surgery & i was told i had to sign dome paperwork. I was drugged & signed without question!
    I signed giving my permission to have b my cervix & appendix removed! Later the Dr comes in & told me he could not do the bikini cut cause my appendix looked bad. I asked if it was, he said no.

    I did not know my cervix had been removed for 3 to 5 years! I was so mad cause my morphine pump did not work. It took me 12 hours & the Dr to come back to talk after my yelling in pain. He had probably had just delivered a baby for him coming to see me. I was correct he ordered a different machine & things were better. I had been up to the bathroom several times after surgery without any pain meds!

    I started to get vaginal infections, no matter if i had a sexual partner or not but mostly when i had a partner. Eventually I started having incontinence. Saw a urologist & i had a chronic uti, 1 month on 1 pill s day for the uti cause I’m allergic to all antibiotics!

    Then he catheterised me to prove my incontinence which did not because i was moving as he wanted me to not my normal ways of moving, then he catheterised me a second time & even after he claimed to numbed me that catheter hurt do bad the whole office heard me!! He finally decided he had no reason for the catheter to cause me so much pain but i did have a prolapsed bladder, probably from my cervix removal. That the cervix helped to keep the bladder & bowels in place!

    Thank god I did not let him do surgery of putting bladder sling, which now are being recalled for causing severe damage to bring a class action law suit! I have to push my own bowel back inside of myself every time i get a flare up of my ibs!
    I do not think if the cervix is not cancerous leave it in place!!! I do not have the b muscle strength for my partner to get his best pleasure from me during sex, a cock ring helps him! But I feel inferior to. Anyone sexually cause i was butch e red!!! I wish I could sue the sob for butchering me up!!! I was told that it is common practise to remove the appendix now but not to remove the ovaries even if you had cysts for 25 years!! The removal of cervix is the last thing anyone remove a cervix unless it is cancerous!!!

  3. Just been told I need a hysterectomy so reading this has been a real eye opener and I thank you sincerely for your straight forward explanations and information. I will now go fully armed when I see my gynae. Thanks.

  4. I feel so bad for all the women that have suffered so much after there surgery . I have no complaints I had a wonderful doctor that helped me because I was in so much pain that I could barely walk . My stomach was so bloated , I had to wear loose clothing . I actually thought I was going to die because my condition was just getting worse I could not stand to cook dinner without having a chair next to stove to sit down n rest . My uterus was attached to my stomach lining the doc did not knw that until he opened me up n he took out my cervix because he said he was bad . I have no uterus or cervix n so far my life has been great ! It’s been 4 yrs I feel like I got my life back . I could stand all day , I could exercise , jump , run …. All I could not do before surgery . My sex life is at it’s best my climax is beautiful . I’m so thankful that all that needed to come out was taken out . I know it all depends on the doc . Maybe research before allowing anyone to touch you . Especially that area of your body that is a huge part of you .

    1. I’m so happy to hear that…I’m due for surgery and I’m looking forward to running, jumping and dancing! I have to have the surgery and I’m know it’s a tough one but since it has to happen I’m looking forward to the good things. It’s hard to think positive when you can’t stop bleeding and you look like your carrying twins and you arent…thanks for your story

    2. Hi, lovely to read that all was well for you after your surgery. Did you have the cervix removed as well?

      Kind Regards

  5. I was always very turned on as well as VERY orgasmic, even had extremely powerful multiple orgasms prior to my full hysterectomy. The hysterectomy was done because I had extreme abdominal pain from decades of endometriosis, cysts on both ovaries, and for some reason, my doctor (female) suggested removal of the cervix and the fallopian tubes. There was no discussion about the possibility of loss of sex drive or loss of orgasm. I lost both, COMPLETELY!!! I feel dead inside and my relationship with my husband has suffered tremendously. I have NO interest in sex, finding it painful and unsatisfying, and I’m taking HRT! If ANYONE has any advice, please, please help me! I have tried bioidentical hormone replacement, spending thousands of wasted money, and am desperate to get ANY of my libido and ability to orgasm back!

    1. TG, I too am on HRT, estrogen (Premarin 1.25 and estradiol 1 pump) and testosterone – the combination gives me great libido – The testosterone can be measured by a simple blood test, and if you’re under the acceptable level 5, you need to supplement.

    2. Grab a copy of The New Natural Alternatives to HRT as it is full of great advice about everything to do with the menopause and even this particularly tricky subject :-)

  6. I have been reading some of the comments on hear and found i am now quiet scared to go threw with a historectomy, I have opted for this with full removal of my cervix, due to having Cin 1 Pre cancer cells, The hospital told me i have to wait a year before getting checked again,, Which i find not right, as i had aggressive cin 3 pre cancer cells 10 years prior with full removal of the bad cells. The hospital refused to remove the cin 1 cells and took biopsi instead. I’m only 40 years old and have 5 children. I now feel like i have been left no choice but to get a historectomy. One thing i have read about getting my cervix removed is sex can be quiet painful due to the vaginal shortening or scarring, and accidental damage to the bowel. My partner is perfectly matched to my size, Due to me having a short vagina. This opperation could mean sex would be out of the question if it was shortened even more.. I no this may sound stupid but all these things are worrying me, And found myself with no one to even talk to about this subject. And thank you to everyone who has wrote about their experience for people like me to read and understand a bit more. xx

  7. I have recently undergone vaginal hysterectomy for a prolapse uterus/bladder & bowel following childbirth nearly 22 years ago. When I was in labour I had opted for an epidural due to having prolapse discs in my spine ( nursing career norm) & was told this would be a better for me. I was left ‘pushing’ out my daughter for HOURS! I suffered dreadfully with bowel & bladder problems for many years after this & despite many years investigations & ‘lost’ NHS referals I was eventually seen at a ‘triple clinic’ of gynaecologist/urologist/gastroenterologist in 2010. I explained at length (I am a qualified nurse RGN, DIP N, BSC, MA) that my bowel & bladder prolapse were my main over-riding problem & despite clarification of this via further tests (colonoscopy/rectogram/ultrasound/internal examination) I was advised that a vaginal hysterectomy & bladder lift would offer the best possible outcome & relieve the ‘pressure’ from the uterus onto my bowel & negate the need for me to use daily enemas. Despite being highly qualified in my field – I was at fault of being far too trusting. I had the vaginal hysterectomy on 5/08/2015. I still have to use daily enemas. My vagina has been sutured in such a way as to have a lump (the size of a turtles head) sitting right behind the opening of my vagina. The stitches won’t dissolve properly as there is a lack of lubrication despite oral & intra-vaginal oestrogen (high risk for me – having severe uncontrolled hypertension) & my ability to orgasm has COMPLETELY gone! Nothing! I feel internally butchered. With hindsight (which is a wonderful thing!) I should have said’ don’t take healthy organs away – just lift them up!’ But I didn’t. I was a trusting fool. So my advice to all other woman trying to decide is clear – before hysterectomy DO YOUR RESEARCH – don’t just automatically TRUST what a surgeon offers. The majority of Gynaecologists are MEN.They aren’t fully versed in the complexity of the female orgasm. I’m 51 – but before this I had a healthy sex life with a loving partner. Now I feel doomed to a life of saying ‘ I have a headache darling’ & as my lover has a high sex drive…. he may well have to find his excitement elsewhere, sadly & I may well spend my latter years as a lonely shrivelled-up prune!!!

  8. I had many issues after my surgery, but because I am a single mum, hadn’t known that the removal of my cervix was one of them until today. This week, I was prescribed Vagifem cream for atrophy. It came with a 10cm applicator. When I inserted it, it hit the closed off top of my vagina and caused me so much pain that it brought tears to my eyes. I cannot believe that I can no longer have sex…I was already so upset about the lack of information provided before surgery, but the idea that removal of my cervix was sold to me as cancer preventative when cervical cancer is so incredibly rare, and my sex life has been destroyed is unspeakably upsetting to me. The idea that, at age 45, I will never have sex again is staggering to me. I feel ruined and broken-hearted.

  9. I am so upset. I had a cervix removal 10 years ago but was booked for a full hysterectomy as I had prolapse after 4 children. I had previously had to wear a’doughnut ring’ inside my vagina to keep everything in place. .which did work for a year or two. .but once I’d seen a woman gynaecologist she suggested I have hysterectomy. .after my operation a male Dr came to see me and told me that they didn’t do full hysterectomy as it was too dangerous..and they just removed my cervix. ..stupidly I didn’t question this as i thought they are the specialist they know what they’re doing. …now 10 years on. .I am having problems again. .been back and forward to Dr’s. ..treated with antibiotics as a kidney infection although water sample keep coming back clear. .so last week saw another different Dr. .who actually queried the removal of my cervix. ..quote…”WHO DOES THAT”… so she is the only Dr that did an internal examination on me after constant visit to the Dr’s since February she thinks I have prolapse again. I am very upset and worried. ..she has told me to do constant pelvic floor exercises. … .she is sending me for an ultrasound scan. .has done blood test and water test…which I am waiting for results. …After reading lots of forum’s about cervix removal I am very upset I have no idea why they did it. .do you think I have a claim against them. ..I don’t want to go through another operation

  10. Loretta Glover says :

    I also had many issues after my surgery. My surgery was on my 40th birthday, my doctor(female) removed uterus due to fibroids( heavy bleeding), and removed the cervix,
    due to a tumor about the side of a football. I was told day of the surgery my cervix had to be removed, because the tumor had attached itselt to the cervix.
    After the complete hysterectomy, about 2 days later went into memopause, depression, feelings of being less than a women, night sweats, eyes crossing while driving my hair, and falling out, and 5 years later a prolapse bladder. I had no idea what was happening to me, my doctor never talked about what could happen after surgery and no pamplets on hysterectomy from the doctor. The women I was surround by only talked about night sweats. I was prescribed HRT 10 months after surgery and most of the systems are gone.
    I I am now 66 years old, husband left me a year after my surgery because I had
    no sex drive at all. Sex was no were near what it use to be(no libido)
    I still have feelings of hopelessness from time to time, but I pray alot and I have my grand children.

  11. I’m 12 weeks post surgery, having had ovaries, uterus and cervix removed and my bladder dissected in 2 places. I suffered for years with ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, endometriosis, flooding periods and anaemia. I felt so much better just 3 days post surgery and managed pain relief with paracetamol only. I feel like I have a better life than pre surgery. I can exercise, dance, walk, go out without needing to no more than 30 mins away from the loo. My healing has been remarkably quick – all down to an amazing surgeon. My sex life is 100 times better and orgasms are back to the intensity that they were in my 20s. I feel truly blessed with my new lease of life and only wish I’d had the op done sooner!

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