We ladies have all heard the horror stories about the post-hysterectomy death of one’s sex life. Hormones go out of whack. The body has to heal from surgery and deal with the loss of a major lady part. Skin goes dry. Night sweats and hot flashes begin (a pre-menopause as the body adjusts). The other adjectives ascribed are grouchy, cranky, pissy, mean, depressed, sad, hysterical; in other words, mood swings. Anyone who feels like this, any woman who is going through such, well, the last thing on her mind would be sex, right? Maybe not.
One woman, age 60, had her hysterectomy at age 45. “I had what they call a total cleanout or TAH for Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. I had stomach cancer, but a couple of the tumors had long connections to my uterus. Weird, as usual. I told them to take everything out and toss it.
After I healed, things got crazy! I had no hormone replacement therapy, which they had initially promised. I woke up without a patch on and they told me I wasn't getting one either, due to the fact that I'm allergic to so many things. They told me I'd just have to go it alone.
Now keep in mind this was the third time. I started menopause at 37. They were able to stop it with pills. At 41, it started again. They did a few minor procedures and it stopped. But when the tumors came up and I was 45, I told them to just get rid of it.
It was like being dropped into hormone hell without a parachute. I didn't know if I was up, down, hot, cold, you name it for about a year. The one thing I DID know, though, is that I wanted sex and I wanted it all the time. It got so bad my husband was running away from me. I don't remember a lot of it, but he told me one day he picked me up from work and I damn near raped him in the front of the truck with everyone looking.
One thing I do remember and now we laugh about it, is that one day we had done “it” three or four times and I wanted more. We were in bed and he was really tired and had to be up early the next day. He just shook his head, took my hand and put it on his parts and said, "Look, there it is. Jump on, take a ride, do whatever the hell you want, but I'm going to sleep!"
That phase of mine lasted for about 18 months before it calmed down. We both survived, but it was quite a time.”
This jives with Doctor Jessica Landa’s, and Menopause Lifestyle's research about increased frequency and ability to orgasm (more often and stronger than before) after the procedure. (Having Sex After a Hysterectomy)
- The number of women having sexual relations at least five times a month increased by 10 percent.
- After surgery, 72 percent said they were experiencing orgasms, compared to 63 percent before the surgery.
- The number of women who said they had strong orgasms increased from 45 percent before the hysterectomy to 57 percent after surgery.
Pain previously associated with sex beforehand was also noted to decrease after the hysterectomy.
D, 51, faced this decision after a bout with cervical cancer. “I had a partial hysterectomy when I was 36. I had just gone through stage 4 cervical cancer that was in situ (thank goodness), and they were able to get it all with a cone biopsy, but a diagnostic laparoscopy revealed that I also had cysts in my uterus.
“Because of the C-word (as my doctor put it) he said he could schedule me for a hysterectomy. After three kids and the possibility that the cervical cancer had spread, it was a no-brainer for me. What honestly amazed me about the process was several women asked me if I felt "whole" afterwards! This was weird because I had given birth to three children, was well beyond any inclination to have any more kids, and it was the best decision I'd ever made.”
“My recovery (being partial and they removed it vaginally) was minimal, I felt great, and it did nothing to diminish my libido. I still have my ovaries, which is why I didn't need hormone replacement therapy, but I was told that menopause would happen 10 years sooner than probably would have been normal. I am now 51 and the "menopause" is in full bore, so I think that's pretty "normal”. I don't necessarily recommend a hysterectomy just because I had a great experience, but a woman should listen to her own body, do her own research, look at her family history, and come to that decision herself. There is a huge difference between total and partial hysterectomies, though, and that should be a determining factor. If the woman can keep her ovaries, then she will be in much better shape. As for my libido? I have never enjoyed sex as much as I have in the last 10 years (partly because of the man I am now married to, but even between the procedure and my current husband, the surgery did not "dampen" that aspect at all! In fact, not having to worry about periods and such is a freeing aspect of the whole thing!”
Dr. Landa shares that there are cases where a hysterectomy can be avoided through hormone replacement therapy. This will depend upon the diagnosis and the balance (or lack thereof) of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. She cites a 2012 study that shows a combination of bioidentical estrogen and bioidentical progesterone can provide the greatest improvement, and remedy, for a woman’s sexual function when depleted or changed by menopause.
April, who is still very young, recently had a hysterectomy on January 24th, 2013, and is only now on the tail-end of her recovery from her procedure. “Monday (March 11th) was my first day back to work after a six week recovery. My uterus was removed due to fibroid tumors, and I also had a prolapsed bladder so that was repaired as well. Let me just say, after having three rather large babies (one by C-section) my " inners" were becoming "outers". So, last week I had sex for the first time following the surgery and let me just say it was amazing. While it was very difficult for me to achieve orgasm during intercourse prior to the surgery, it happens very fast now, and my pleasure spots seem to have moved. It really feels like I am 38 and just lost my virginity---sort of. I still have my ovaries so the sex drive is definitely there. Only thing is, my boyfriend is rather well endowed so we have to take it slow (somewhat) and use a lot of lubricant. Best surgery ever!”
Advances in women’s medicinal studies have brought women from experiencing misery and shutting down sexually after hysterectomy to happily entering into a new and improved sexual phase post-op. Hysterectomies no longer have the stigma of leaving ladies feeling “less” than a woman. Indeed, it seems between research and testimonies, women are experiencing a new-found wholeness in which they can embrace their sexuality and finally enjoy their sex lives without pain.
If facing the decision of surgical hysterectomy, make sure to discuss all the options with your gynecologist in order to choose the best option for you. There is, absolutely, sex after a hysterectomy, and good sex at that!
M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on Amazon.com .
All articles by Michele Gwynn are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent by the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, email email@example.com.
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