Sex after a hysterectomy

I am nearly 6 weeks post op and am wondering how much different sex is going to be. I know that my vagina is shorter because of the surgery. I am looking for words of wisdom from those of you who have been through it already as well as those who are facing this issue currently.

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Hey Eimaj,

As you know, we're in the same boat...you're just a few weeks ahead of me.

I'm glad you asked this question. From what I've read it's not really that noticable to either person and I sure hope that's the case when my six weeks is up.

I'm just looking forward to no bleeding afterwards!

I'm anxiously waiting to see what others post!

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Eimaj,
After I had my radical tracelectomy I was scared of having sex. I was so suprised when it finally happened. I actually had my first orgasim after my surgery. My doctor informed my husband and I that we would have to wait about 6 months before we could start trying to get pregnant. We are still trying and I have faith that we will- we have place your lives in God's hands. Let it be his will and not ours. Have a wonderful blessed day.

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I had a hysterectomy 7 years ago for early stage cervical cancer. I was told by many that sex is better than before their hysterectomy so I was happy to hear this. Well when my husband and I were able to have sex after the surgery it was not better than before. I had no sex drive what so ever. I am dry all the time, and the few positions that we really enjoyed before now are painful. My husband says he can tell my vagina is shorter he could feel the cervix before and not hit's what he calls the wall. I feel embarrassed although my husband is great and tells me it doesn't matter to him and we can try what ever position I am comfortable with. We now rely on astro glide for lubricant so the spontaneous romantic sex is no longer. My hormone levels have been checked over and over and are find but the sex I once enjoyed is no longer...BUT I AM ALIVE AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS MOST!! I hope the sex is better for you girls.

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Eimaj,

I am so glad you asked the question. I am six weeks post op and wondering when i will be able to have sex again. I am very scared even thinking about it.

I go to the dr tomorrow and going to ask him what he thinks. After all, he should be able to tell me if everything looks healed and then maybe my fears will be eliminated.

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I agree with Fantim66 - I have no sex drive since my hysterectomy. I had very little before & now it is nothing. My vagina is shorter & I use a dialator almost every nite. I also use Astro glide as a lubricant. But I am alive & that is good. My husband seems to be very understanding.
Nurkao

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Fantim66 and Nurkao,

Just curious but are either of you on Hormone replacements? Not sure if this even would be related to having the drive or not but thought i would ask.

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In addition to hormones, I think a lot depends on the fact that surgery was done and some of the major arteries and nerves that innervate the sex organs within the female pelvis are severed diminishing blood flow and interrupting nerve pathways. And, there's a consequence to that. A woman who's had a partial hysterectomy (cervix intact) may have different sensations than a woman who's had a total or radical hysterectomy.

Testosterone can help with libido as can estrogen - the FDA has not approved testosterone yet, though a prescription for compounded testosterone may help (in small doses because there can be side effects).

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There's an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today written by Angela Townsend, 'Is Libido-boosting gel for women around the corner?' that talks about LibiGel, which is a gel rubbed on the arm everyday to treat low libido. The company that manufactures LibiGel is BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the CEO is Stephen Simes.

It further states that the 'FDA has yet to approve any type of product to treat a woman's low libido.'

Dr. Holly Thacker, gynecologist & director for Cleveland Clinic's Women's Specialized Health Center credits Viagra for the cultural shift in the way we view older people having sex.

Dr. Thacker also points out "I think it certainly highlighted the discrepancy out there that women don't have the same option. In contrast to {erectile dysfunction in men}, HSDD {hypoactive sexual desire disorder} is the most common sexual disorder in women."

The article goes on to say, 'Thacker hasn't made her patients wait around for the FDA's approval of testosterone products for women. Instead she had the Clinic's pharmacist mix up low doses of topical testosterone, or she prescribes one-tenth of the dose of a product that's available for men. The problem, though, is that no one really knows what long terms effects a product designed for men will have on women. Thacker would rather have the FDA approve something for women so she can prescribe a proper amount designed for them.' Thacker prefers to individualize treatment and likes as many options as possible.

LibiGel has been under study for more than 6 yrs and the 3rd phase of its clinical trials at more than 100 sites including Beachwood, Ohio, began in Jan 2008. The trial will continue to recruit women through the summer.

Simes (CEO) wants to submit a formal application to the FDA in 2010 & he projects if all goes well, the product could be available 2011, hoping that it will be covered by insurance like Viagra is and comparable in cost to birth control products or estrogen therapy.

I found this part interesting...'Why has it taken this long for a drug to get this close to FDA review?'

"It's kind of a controversial area, {but} so was erectile dysfunction until Sen. {Robert} Dole came on TV to talk about it," Simes said. According to Simes, progress was put aside when Merck's Viox showed an increase in heart attacks/stroke, after which, BioSante had to devote its time to safety studies.

'He also believes that the FDA scrutinizes drugs for women more closely than drugs for men. The safety studies required for testosterone for women are bigger and longer than were required for Viagra or testosterone approved for men, he said.'

There will be a financial gain, too. "This can be characterized as a blockbuster product with a sales potential of $1 billion or more a year," he said.

LibiGel seems to be the product with the best odds for FDA approval.

It was noted that some of Dr. Thacker's patients have traveled to Europe for the testosterone patch.

As an aside, I still think the impact of surgery carries a lot of weight as to why hysterectomized women have low libido and compromised sexual function in addition to hormonal changes that naturally occur as women age. While, at times, a hysterectomy may be necessary, it should not be casually recommended or tossed out like it's no big deal. It is a big deal and often performed in the face of other options. While each of us who have had a hysterectomy will need to find our comfort zone entering back into sex after the surgery, and may notice some changes, we are still sexual beings who can be sexy, enjoy sex and with the help of products like the one above, at least have some sort of hormonal balance restored to keep us that way.

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I hope this isn't breaking any rules - there is a phone number for more information on the study if anyone wants to pursue this further on her own:

877-BLOOM-81 (235-6681)

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Dear Eimaj,

There is a company in the UK called Owen Mumford, which sells a product that helps to reduce post pelvic radiotherapy adhesions and sexual penetration problems. The name of the product is Amielle and their webiste is www.owenmumford.com.
Kind regards Daniela

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Hi, I hope you get this reply since it is many months since you posted it. My lack of libido is due to surgeries following Ovarian Cancer. I am wondering if your doctor has forbidden you to take Testosterone, or any hRT due to your cancer history?

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My lose of libido is due to surgeries due to OVarian Cancer. I know Testosterone would cause my libido to return but wonder if it would cause the cancer to come back. Anyone know of doctors who may have some insight or answers? It would be very helpful. Thanks.

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I don't think sex is any different after my hysterectomy. No physiological difference at all. I have dryness problems but I had those before since I'm post-menopausal. I just want you to have another opinion since I think each case is different. Be optimistic. If you feel that your sex life is forever ruined, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

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For women who have experienced uterine orgasm and cervical tapping with orgasm (all part of the 'orgasm package') there will be a noticeable difference as these organs are no longer in the body, therefore, no feeling of these organs contributing to an orgasm can possibly be had - the organs have been removed. Clitoral orgasm essentially remains the same since this organ is not 'tampered' with during surgery, however, loss of libido and sexual feelings can be attributed to hormonal imbalances as well as nerve damage that can occur. So, depending on how your orgasmic function was prior to surgery and knowledge of it will most definitely be affected when a hysterectomy is done...and it is NOT just in a women's head, contrary to what some doctors want women to believe! When an oophorectomy is done, the hormone producing ovaries are removed and replacement therapy can be helpful. Dr. Holly Thacker of the Cleveland Clinic is a huge proponent for testosterone for women to help the libido and she's written a couple of books that may be helpful. Also, a book by Dr. Robert Greene that explains hormone function may be helpful and good places to start. Ctaffel, are you able to discuss this with your current dr to see what she/he recommends? Right now, there is no FDA testosterone patch approved in USA, though it is available in europe, but you can get a prescription for an ointment which has to be made at a reliable compounding pharmacy. Estrogen is affected by testosterone, but it may be minimal and worthwhile investigating so that you can get some of the libido back with testosterone therapy.

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Just something to think about...when a man has his prostate removed - just the prostate - the risk for impotency is HUGE and it is a major consideration given to a man when looking at options for precancer/cancer of the prostate. This same consideration needs to be addressed in women when a hysterectomy/oophorectomy is done - it is not in our heads or a self-fulfilling prophecy, it is very real and biological.

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faith2, i absolutely agree with everything you posted. i think it would be unusual for a woman to have a hysterectomy and oopherectomy and not notice a significant difference in sex pre and post hysterectomy.

ctaffel, i don't know the answer to your question about hormones for you, but definitely worth pursuing. you may want to try the Berman Center in chicago to see if they have resources that can help point you to something near where you live: http://www.bermancenter.com/ (i don't have direct experience with this clinic, but they deal with all sorts of sexual difficulties and issues, and i think they'd be a good starting point for you.)

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