A Guide to Sex After a Hysterectomy

Medically Reviewed By Teresa Hagan Thomas PHD, BA, RN
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For many females, a big concern after a hysterectomy is how it will affect their sex life. Sex after a hysterectomy will most likely be different, but that does not necessarily mean worse. For many, it is better. This article will discuss the realities of sex after a hysterectomy. It will also give you tips on how you can help improve your sex life after a hysterectomy.

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “female” and “women” when discussing people assigned female at birth to reflect language that appears in source materials.

Learn more about the difference between sex and gender here.

How soon can I start having sex after a hysterectomy?

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Isabel Alcaine/Stocksy United

After a hysterectomy, it is important to wait until your scars have healed and any discharge has stopped before resuming sexual activity. This typically takes around 4–6 weeks.

You may not feel ready to have sex again at that time. There is nothing wrong with that. It may take extra time for you to feel open to being sexually active after all the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes your body is experiencing following a hysterectomy.

Do not rush sexual activity if you do not feel ready. You should take your time and wait until you feel completely ready.

How does a hysterectomy change how I have sex?

Sexual desire, arousal, and function vary from person to person after a hysterectomy. However, studies have shown that many females experience the same or better sexual functioning following the procedure.

Many females report that they have a better sex life after their hysterectomy because it gives them relief from the pain they were experiencing before and from heavy bleeding.

There are many ways you may experience sex differently after a hysterectomy. You may experience a lower sex drive after surgery. However, your libido typically increases once you have fully recovered. Studies also suggest that many women experience an increase in strength of orgasm and sexual activity following their hysterectomy.

If you experience symptoms of menopause following your hysterectomy, you may notice other changes to your sex life. These changes may include:

  • vaginal dryness
  • a lack of sexual interest
  • vaginal atrophy
  • tiredness due to night sweats
  • irritability and feeling stressed due to emotional changes

You should discuss any concerns you have with your doctor. If you have a partner, you should also be open with them about these potential changes.

What steps can I take to improve my sex life after a hysterectomy?

You may find the changes to your sex life after a hysterectomy concerning or daunting. It can feel overwhelming, as your body is experiencing so many other changes at the same time.

However, there are steps you can take to improve your sex life after a hysterectomy.

Start slow

Do not force yourself into having sex again before you are ready. Give yourself the time to not only heal physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

Allow extra time

Give yourself extra time to become fully aroused before you have sex. The moisture that your body produces during arousal can help protect the tissues of your vagina and make penetrative sex more comfortable.

Try different positions

You may find that you need to try different positions to make sex more comfortable and pleasurable for you. Do not be afraid to try new things and experiment with which positions work best.

Use lubrication

Lubrication can make all the difference when it comes to comfort during penetrative sex and clitoral stimulation. For vaginal dryness related to menopausal symptoms, a water-based lubricant is often the best choice.

However, there are many different types and options for lubricants. You may need to try a few different ones to find what works best for you.

Practice pelvic floor exercises

Practicing pelvic floor exercises regularly can help increase the blood flow to your vagina. It can also help strengthen the muscles that are involved with orgasm.

Have sex more often

Having sex more often, if you are ready, can also help increase the blood flow to your vagina. It helps keep the vaginal tissue healthy as well.

Be open and honest

As with so many things, communication is key. If you have one, be open with your partner about your fears, concerns, and the changes to your body. Be honest with them about what works and what does not.

Communication can help you overcome the emotional and mental blocks you may have after your hysterectomy, as well as make it more physically comfortable for you.

Other ways to improve your sex life

A few other things to try, especially if you experience menopausal symptoms, include:

  • avoiding smoking
  • keeping physically active
  • avoiding products that may irritate your vagina
  • avoiding drugs and alcohol

If you are experiencing a low sex drive and this concerns you, speak with your doctor about products that can help with this.

Visit our hub to read about sexual health.

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure wherein a surgeon removes your uterus. Sometimes, if it is necessary, they will also remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries as well.

After the procedure, you will no longer be able to become pregnant. If you have not yet gone through menopause, you will also no longer menstruate.

Any female may require a hysterectomy, but it is most common among those who are between the ages of 40 and 50 years.

Typically, your doctor will only recommend a hysterectomy if all other treatments have been unsuccessful.

The most common reasons for requiring a hysterectomy include:

  • Heavy periods: These are often the result of fibroids.
  • Pelvic pain: This may be due to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, adenomyosis, or fibroids.
  • Prolapse of the uterus: This occurs when the supportive tissues and ligaments surrounding the uterus weaken. This causes the uterus to drop from its usual position.
  • Cancer: This includes ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and cancer of the fallopian tubes.

There are three main types of hysterectomy. These include:

  • Total hysterectomy: This is the most common type of hysterectomy. In this type, the surgeon removes all of the uterus and cervix. The fallopian tubes and ovaries are only removed if necessary.
  • Partial hysterectomy: With this type, your surgeon removes the upper part of your uterus, leaving the cervix intact. They may or may not remove your ovaries.
  • Radical hysterectomy: This type is most commonly used in those with certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer. With this type of hysterectomy, the surgeon will remove the entire uterus, the cervix, the tissue on either side of the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. Once again, they may or may not remove the ovaries.

Your body will go through many changes following a hysterectomy. You should be open with your doctor about any concerns you have, including those about having sex after the procedure.

Visit our hub to read more about female health.

Summary

Your body experiences many changes after a hysterectomy. These can include mental, emotional, hormonal, and physical changes.

You may find that sex is different for you after a hysterectomy. This is common. However, for some people, sex is better after a hysterectomy.

If you are finding sex challenging after a hysterectomy, there are steps you can take to improve it.

If you are still concerned about a low sex drive or other sexual issues you may have, speak with your doctor.

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Medical Reviewer: Teresa Hagan Thomas PHD, BA, RN
Last Review Date: 2022 May 30
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