You need to have a hysterectomy. While undergoing surgery is never fun, you may be looking forward to no more tampons, cramps and the mood swings that come along with your monthly “visitor.”
While these benefits are a small silver lining, you probably still have concerns about the procedure, your recovery and the surgery’s ongoing effect on your sex life.
Don’t fear ladies!
Here are your top 3 questions answered by Virtua OB/GYN Michele Godorecci, MD. And you may be pleasantly surprised by the answers.
How long do I have to wait after surgery to have sex?
It takes 6 to 8 weeks for a woman to completely heal after surgery. Sound like a long time to refrain from sex? It’s really not. “Women experience some discomfort during the healing process. Because of that, many don’t feel like being intimate,” notes Dr. Godorecci. “For most, the down time is a welcomed time.”
How will the surgery affect my sex life going forward?
The uterus is always removed with a hysterectomy. But, depending on the reason for the surgery, the ovaries, cervix and/or the supporting tissue may be removed as well.
Most long-term side effects come with the removal of the ovaries. “When the ovaries are removed, the body no longer produces estrogen and testosterone, and this can lead to vaginal dryness/tightness and a lackluster libido,” says Dr. Godorecci.
But ladies, there’s good news. “It’s best practice to leave the ovaries intact whenever possible,” affirms Dr. Godorecci. “They’re only removed when absolutely necessary, such as when cancerous cells are found.”
And even for women who NEED to have their ovaries removed, there’s lots that can be done to maintain a happy and healthy sex life.
Combat vaginal dryness, tightness or painful sex
If dryness is an issue, buy lubrication. There are several varieties including warming, flavored or regular. Whichever lubrication you choose, have a little fun with it. Try a few and find one that’s enjoyable for you and your partner.
If tightness is the problem, a vaginal dilator can help open the vagina. You can shop in the privacy of your own home by going online. Dilators come in different sizes. Start with the smallest size and work your way up.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy replaces the hormones in your body. Estrogen prevents dryness and tightness and testosterone boosts your desire for sex.
Will I still be able to have an orgasm?
“The answer is yes,” confirms Dr. Godorecci. Women have orgasms in three different ways: uterine, vaginal and clitoral. Mostly, women have clitoral orgasms, which are not affected by the surgery at all. “If a woman has a uterine orgasm, she can absolutely relearn how to have an orgasm in another way,” reassures Dr. Godorecci. “Surgery is certainly not the end to an enjoyable sex life.”