No matter a woman’s age, having a hysterectomy can be an emotional experience. For many, it can bring up feelings of loss and fear. Loss of femininity, no longer being able to bear children, fear of diminished attractiveness. And it can bring up concerns about having sex: Will it be painful? Will I be able to enjoy it? Will I feel different to my partner? Will I even be interested in sex again?
Confusion over what a hysterectomy involves can create unnecessary anguish, and it’s important to understand what kind of hysterectomy you are having, and whether or not an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) is also being performed.
What Is A Hysterectomy?
A standard hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and the cervix. A supracervical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus above the cervix. A hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy (the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes on both sides), removes the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
It is important to know what happens to your body with each of these procedures, because care after the surgery is tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Normal hormone production within the body continues with a standard or supracervical hysterectomy, as female hormones are produced by the ovaries. For women who have not yet entered menopause, menstruation stops with a standard or supracervical hysterectomy, but hormonal changes should not begin until late 40s or early 50s. This can be confusing for many women.
The only time menopause will begin with hysterectomy surgery is when the additional surgery to remove both ovaries is performed, and that is if woman has not already entered menopause.
Important Questions to Ask Your Surgeon:
- What type of hysterectomy are you recommending?
- Will my ovaries remain intact or are you recommending removal, and why?
- What additional therapy will I need after my surgery?
- How will you be performing the surgery?
- What is the estimate recovery time?
- How long after surgery will I need to wait to have sex?
The Facts About Sex After A Hysterectomy
In a recent survey, 59 percent of women polled fear sex will be less enjoyable after surgery. In addition, 61 percent were worried that their vagina would feel differently to her partner after a hysterectomy.
But across the board, the actual experience has been demonstrated to be the exact opposite. Studies conducted by the National Institute of Health of women after having a hysterectomy show no negative affect on sex drive, self-image, or sexual satisfaction with partner. In fact in many cases, the opposite was true. The causes for this vary, but for many women, the conditions that exist that warrant a hysterectomy may have had an affect on arousal or interest in sex. Treating the condition can help women become more active and get back to living their lives, including enjoying sex.
Menopause, or having your ovaries removed will affect the hormones that influence your sex drive. How it affects each woman is different, and some women find that hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause
Find a Minimally Invasive GYN Surgeon Who Will Work With You
The emotional and physical changes after a hysterectomy can be easier to adjust to if you know what to expect, and are able to ask the right questions. Knowing what to ask, and what you want will also help you find the right person to perform your surgery and manage any additional therapy that may be needed. You will need to have threshold answers so that you know what you will and won’t accept.
Choosing a GYN specialist who can perform a minimally invasive hysterectomy will ensure your recovery time is faster than that of an open procedure. There are newer, safer techniques performed by minimally invasive GYN surgeons. These specialists are fellowship trained and focus only on surgery. Patients recover in days rather than weeks, and have better outcomes, including returning to a more sexually active life after recovery.
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Surgical specialists can often see patients sooner because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in depth attention from Dr. Danilyants and Dr. MacKoul. This personalized care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.
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