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Hysterectomy and Sexual Function

Recent research into whether different types of hysterectomy affected sexuality after hysterectomy presented in the BMJ has said that, women experienced an improvement in sexual function and pleasure, irrespective of the type of hysterectomy that they had had.

However, the researchers also concluded that up to 43% of the 416 woman sample continued to have one or more bothersome problems six months after surgery.

The bothersome problems listed and analysed by the researchers were in the areas of lubrication, orgasm, pain and sensation. The researchers also disregarded answers that said that I am slightly bothered as an indicator of ongoing sexual problems. The researchers also failed to consider frequency of problems experienced and did not include women who had surgery because of endometriosis and/or prolapse of the womb. An interesting note was that of the 416 women surveyed, 10 patients who had been sexually active before surgery, no longer were and 17 women who had not been sexually active before surgery become so. However, no account was made of other pyscho-sexual or relationship difficulties or even the existence of a relationship to determine whether these findings were valid.

This Post Has 14 Comments
  1. There is so little information on the importance of the cervix and uterus to orgasm. I was told yesterday that an operation to repair a rectocele might lead to a vaginal hysterectomy and two consultants dismissed my concerns about impairment to sexual function by saying that the latest reports suggest that the cervix and uterus have little impact on orgasm. However, a cursory reading of American, Australian and some British forums suggest that so many women who have had a total hysterectomy feel that their orgasms are impaired or non-existent. Why are there no recent studies on this issue? Does anyone have any views about this that they would share?

    1. Medical research is funded by the pharmaceutical industry in the main – if there is no perceived profit to be gained then it’s tough to get research funding! The research does show that there is an impact on sexual function because both organs are involved in a rhythmic action during orgasm – this is more strongly felt in some women than in others though!

    2. I had a total hysterectomy a couple months ago. I used to have strong uterine orgasms and now it feels like my orgasm starts but never comes to a full climax. Nothing was said to me before my surgery and I just broke down crying after my first post surgery orgasm. I’ve come to accept it over the past few weeks, especially after reading that some women can no longer reach orgasm at all after the surgery

  2. I am heartbroken, almost post 4 months total abdominal hysterectomy and oophrectomy. In a nutshell my vagina is dead, I am unable to orgasm, I don’t really have much feeling in my vagina and clitoris. I’ve worked in sexual health and am able to voice this but not being took seriously. I’m not histrionic. I’m devastated. My husband of 17 years has been wonderful. I am broken.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your distress Sandra and yes, it can be a very real experience for a small number of women. It may be that the nerves have been cut during surgery and these should reconnect in time – but how long that might be can’t be estimated. In the meantime it might be worth grabbing a copy of the New Natural Alternatives to HRT – the reason I suggest it is because it’s full of advice around sexuality that may be helpful.

  3. Hi I have been told I have to have a hysterectomy I am 37 and have had my family I am grateful for that. I always had problems as soon as I hit pubity. I had my fallopian tubes removed in 2004 . A good scrap of my womb 2011 and abrasion 2012. I have adomyosis and fibroids and also a bulky uterus. My only worry about this is my sex life, it shouldn’t worry me as I don’t have a sex drive anyway. Is there any possibility that I will have one after this op. also he said my ovaries are staying although they have cysts.

    1. I guess it depends Jane. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have a sex drive after a hysterectomy and perhaps if you’ve been dealing with problems like pain, once that’s gone you’ll rediscover you 🙂

  4. I am sheduled to have a hysterectomy in February, after being told that due to adhesions this would not be considered. I was told they would be doing a total hysterectomy, I was so shocked on hearing the news I hardly had time to digest what was being said to me. After consideration I have informed them I would like my cervix and ovaries to remain as I see no need for them to be removed as it’s my uterus that is fibrous everything else is ok. They seem insistant on the total, I am now considering not having anything done although I do experience heavy bleeding. What should I do/ I am 53 and peri-menopausal…. I think.

    1. Hi Julia Just wondered what you did in the end. I had an hysterectomy 3 weeks ago and am not even
      sure if my cervix was removed. Unfortunately (due to time on my hands!) I have looked into this more post op than pre op ! I was never informed that this was an option and spent all my time figuring if I should or should not have my ovaries removed (I didn’t) I too just had a fibrous uterous and am 51 and was also peri-menopausal. All information I was given pretty much stated that removal of the cervix was standard part of the op and now it appears that it actually isn’t. NO ONE mentioned this to me, just the ovary option. Would love to know your outcome. I too was thinking of canceling right up until the day before ..and the day of the op I let them know I wanted to keep my ovaries thinking I had all info and was getting the best for me. Now when it is too late I think the best for me would have been to keep cervix too. If someone out there thinks or has info on cervix removal being a good thing I would love to hear it.

    2. I had a partial hysterectomy when I was 38. The women on my mom’s side had them too I’m the one who went the longest. I had the surgery and a hard recovery but I’m glad I did it. I didn’t find out till about 3yrs after my cervix was removed my doc didn’t tell me. I’m now 44 and my orgasms are stronger than before. My advice is ask the doctor what he is going to actually going to remove. I know it varies from woman to woman but I’ve felt better but the 1st year was an emotional rollercoaster.

  5. will i be able to enjoy sex after having a total hysterectomy and ophrectomy. i am concerned and operation was only done a week ago.

    1. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a normal sex life after hysterectomy – it could even be better than before. Most women in our survey have said it improved or stayed the same 🙂

  6. Question.

    I had a hysterectomy 9 months ago and sex is still very painful. At the same time as this operation I had my bladder stitched. Can you suggest anything that would stretch my vagina. Would a sex toy do this? I am reluctant to return to my doctor with this problem.

    1. Are you sure that it’s your vagina that needs stretching June? I’d probably ask for a referral to another gynaecologist to the one that performed the hysterectomy or at the very least to another GP in your practice.

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