Let’s start this post with an important notice before getting into the topic of having sex after a hysterectomy:
If you are someone who has decided to go through with a hysterectomy or have already had one, just know that you are not alone during your recovery journey. There are multiple ways to get support during this time! And just so you know, you’ve made an important decision for you and your body; and whatever your reason was for getting a hysterectomy is perfectly valid! Good on you for prioritizing your personal health, preferences or quality of life. You deserve to be happy and healthy!
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a hysterectomy is a procedure where the uterus is removed from the body. This can include removal of the entire uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes (total hysterectomy), part of the uterus where the top portion is removed and the cervix is left in the body (partial hysterectomy); or in some cases, a radical hysterectomy. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, some tissue around the cervix, and the upper portion of the vagina.
So, when discussing sex after a hysterectomy, an important topic is healing time. The healing experience after a hysterectomy is different for everyone. The amount of time it may take until you feel ready to have sex after a hysterectomy (post-recovery period) is not going to be the same for everyone, and you should only do what is comfortable for you and feels right for your body!
However, after the surgery, there is an important time frame where you’ll need to allow your body to heal and should not have sex after a hysterectomy yet.
You are advised not to have sex after a hysterectomy (or any vaginal insertion of any kind, including fingers, sexual aides, or penises) for 6 weeks after surgery for healing purposes. You may experience symptoms during the healing period such as vaginal discharge or light bleeding. You will no longer experience menstrual periods, nor will you be capable of carrying a child. You may also experience symptoms at the site of incisions, such as itching or pain.
Healing after this procedure takes time and patience. You should be sure to get enough rest, and shouldn’t lift heavy items or start doing all your normal daily activities or routines too quickly.
Sex After a Hysterectomy
So, getting to the real topic in question… what can someone who’s had a hysterectomy expect in terms of sex after recovery? Will having sex after a hysterectomy feel different?
For people who have had the procedure, the results are varied. Some people feel changes, some people do not feel changes, and some people even have improved situations (especially if they were dealing with heavy periods or pain previously).
So, because the experience (and actual procedure) is different for everyone and there is no easy answer for how exactly you may feel afterward, we’ll discuss the possible changes one may experience after a hysterectomy; which all depend on your individual situation, and which organs are being removed.
One thing that could be different is your hormones. If you had your ovaries removed during the procedure, you may have decreased libido or sex drive. This is because your ovaries produce important hormones that affect libido. Removal of the ovaries may also cause early menopause, producing mood swings, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness; which can lead to painful sex. If you are considering a hysterectomy at a young age, this is an important aspect to be aware of, due to the fact that menopause may be much earlier than usual in such a case.
And, this isn’t meant to cause any nervousness about the procedure, but it is important to be educated on all possible symptoms pertaining to the surgery: in some cases, removal of the cervix can cause removal or cutting of nerves that are important for orgasms to occur during sex.
Around 20% of women experience a cervical orgasm; therefore, if your cervix is removed, you may lose the ability to have such an orgasm. If your cervix or tissue is removed, you may also lose depth. This could cause pain, change certain sensations and change the sexual experience.
Another possibility you may experience after a hysterectomy is some changes in the coordination of your pelvic floor. Why does this happen? Well, previous to the surgery there were other organs present in that area of your body. The removal of those organs changes the proprioception (ability to sense location, movement and presence) of your system. This can cause incontinence or trouble with bowel movements. These symptoms are also affected or caused by the hormone changes resulting from the procedure.
Back pain can also occur after this surgery because there are stabilizing ligaments that attach the uterus to the sacrum. The uterus is a stabilizing structure of the pelvis and spine, and therefore removing it affects how the entire system interacts. You may also have hip pain as a result of the procedure.
As mentioned before, everyone’s body, needs, and situation are different. Your healing process will differ from others, as will your bodily changes resulting from the surgery. It’s important to be educated on such possibilities so you may be more prepared for such changes.
If you do experience certain short-term symptoms (such as incontinence, bowel movement issues, pain) after the surgery, there are ways to cope with them. By working with a pelvic floor physical therapist, your pelvic floor symptoms resulting from a hysterectomy can be better managed.
Tips For Better Sex After a Hysterectomy
The best advice for returning to enjoy sex after a hysterectomy (partnered or alone) is to try when you feel ready. Use plenty of lubricant, go slow, and if you are accompanied, work together with your partner(s) to keep it enjoyable and comfortable.
Optimize the way you feel most comfortable! Try warming up externally first whether you are solo or partnered; try working through your thighs and external genitalia. If you choose penetration as part of sex after a hysterectomy, start with inserting something smaller such as a finger (nails trimmed and hands washed) or a cleaned toy, and slowly work up to your desired goal. Don’t forget to have fun; this is supposed to be enjoyable! If you feel uncomfortable or unsure, you can always save it for another time when you are feeling more ready.
If vaginal/middle opening dryness is a continuing issue for penetrative sex, you can always talk to your doctor about creams, suppositories, or rings. A ring is a soft, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. A suppository is a dissolving tablet that is inserted into the vagina/middle opening. Although needs vary by person, these are possible options that you can discuss with your provider to fit your needs.
If you currently have a partner(s) now or may in the future, be sure to discuss with them your level of comfort, any concerns you have, and the importance of the proper healing for and about your body. That way, everyone’s on the same page and the sexual experience can be enjoyable for all parties when the time comes again for sex after a hysterectomy. You deserve to have a high quality of life and enjoyable sex after a hysterectomy, so communication is very important!
You Got This!!
Deciding to go through with a hysterectomy can be a big decision for many, so you’ve taken a great step by educating yourself on the healing time, possible changes following the surgery, and when it’s okay to have sex again! If you’re someone who’s currently recovering; don’t worry, you got this!
And, remember it’s okay to go at your own pace. Whether it be physical or emotional recovery, you can take as long as you need before returning to your normal sex after a hysterectomy.
If you have any questions about hysterectomies, your recovery symptoms, or sex after a hysterectomy, you can book a FREE 20-minute consultation HERE.
Or, if you’d like to learn more about all things pelvic floor health, head over to Instagram! You can always reach out in the DM’s if you have any questions!
More content you may like:
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Laura Meihofer’s LLC is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and others, as an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products Laura organically uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Laura will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps her spread her message!