sexual side effects of LEEP

The cervical role in sexual pleasure is debated but since my LEEP procedure, sex is less enjoyable and it is often difficult to reach orgasm. Is anyone else having similar problems?

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baconlynn, i'm really sorry to hear that you feel the leep has impacted your sexual experiences. i'm not sure how long ago you had your leep....could it be that you're also still healing? it can take at least 6 months for the cervix to heal after surgeries. and i saw in your other posting that you also are having bv...could it be that this is interfering with sex too? as for what others have experienced, i had cryotherapy as well as 2 leeps, and none of those procedures impacted me sexually. however, the hysterectomy did change the orgasm experience, though not the ease/difficulty in getting there. for me, i think that the lack of estrogen is also significantly impacting me (though i do take hormones). i hope my comments are helpful for you - though my experiences are different. best wishes to you.

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BaconLynn,

I am experiencing a similar problem as yourself. I do not know 100% if my problems result from multiple surgeries because I cannot find any research. My gut instinct is telling me that I am having sexual side effects from multiple surgeries. I have had many, many cervical surgeries. Seven to be exact and my poor cervix is just mangled. My cervix is going to be removed by trachelectomy next month since I want to maintain my fertiltiy. I noticed the difference about a year or so ago. I'm slightly embarrassed to speak to my doctor about this which is completely ridiculous of me.

How many surgeries have you had? I do not think after just one LEEP you would experience sexual side effects, but you never know. Everyone is different.....

Tabatha

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Tabatha,
I only had one LEEP but I think the Dr removed a large portion of the cervix. While it was being lazered off, it just felt like I was being mutilated; like my center was being removed. I saw the removed tissue after my surgery and it was at least as big as a thumb tip, down to the nail, which is more than Doc warned me of pre-surgery. Since then, I have seen models of the vagina, and the cervix is pretty small. Unfortunately, I cannot talk to the Dr who performed the surgery because I have moved and now have a new Dr who cannot know how large my cervix was before. But, former Doc did not think I had anything to worry about in our post-surgery meeting. I think I trusted the wrong Dr.
Certainly, you should talk to your Dr about your concerns. I wonder if maybe your Doc only removed slivers compared to my surgery and now, after 7, you have lost enough tissue to notice a difference?

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Yes, I feel that I barely have any contractions any more when I orgasm (post-LEEP). I'm hoping this is all in my head and will pass, but I'm worried that it won't.

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Dear BaconLynn,

Having had a hysterectomy for cervical CIS (was symptomless) and having had a terrific intimate life prior to this surgery, I can tell you things are not the same for me. Uterine contractions are gone (no uterus to contract) which added to the dimension of orgasms. I've read so much and learned so much since my surgery, too much too late. I shudder to think that there is 'speculation' that the cervix contributes to the sexual experience as well (I personally recall that it did for me and can't help but wonder whether it's male docs/researchers/scientists who are speculating!) I don't doubt that you may be experiencing some changes. However, I can also share with you that there is a measure of psychological damage, and to what extent, I can't tell you, that I believe occurs when women are unprepared for the changes that occur when their sexual organs are excised, and that it has taken a long time for me to begin to feel normal again. There have been mini-breakthroughs along the way, but, believe me when I tell you, I feel such loss and I'm trying to rebuild my sense of self.

Some women who have suffered with heavy bleeding and fibroids may feel relief from having a hysterectomy and studies show that for them, sex may improve. I would suggest that sexual experiences may not have been all they could be due to the pain/bleeding, etc. I don't think it's fair to compare the sex lives of women from that category with women who've been symptomless but suffered pelvic organ cancers and had surgery or other treatments i.e. radiation to treat them. Too often, this is done and somehow, it's become an acceptable standard that our organs are disposable, and it's in our heads if we experience sexual changes.

I'd like to share with you something from Dr. Christiane Northrup's book, "The Wisdom of Menopause" - pg 282-283:

"Although numerous studies have documented the distress associated with loss of a breast, changes in the vagina have been neglected in this respect. A [literature] search performed in mid-1998 with the combined terms "cancer," "breast," and "distress" yielded 197 references. In contrast, a search in which the term "vagina" was submitted for "breast" yielded only 2 references. One might assume that vaginal changes would affect sexual function at least as much as the loss of a breast. An obvious reason for the predominant interest in the breast is that, in developed countries, breast cancer is more common than cancer of the female genital organs. Nevertheless, the paucity of literature on the effect of vaginal changes is noteworthy, and it may not be irrelevant to speculate about nonscientific reasons. For men, female breasts have aesthetic as well as sexual value, which may influence research policies in academic medicine, where male investigators predominate." Bergmark, K., et al (1999). Vaginal changes and sexuality in women with a history of cervical cancer. NEJM, 340, 1383-1389.

The Susan Komen foundation's fundraising efforts, obviously, has made major strides in understanding breast cancers and I would not take anything away from our sisters who have suffered from this horrible disease. Likewise, I would like to see that same dedication, compassion, public education and support focused on female genital cancers, even though we're a smaller number here in the US, but not worlwide. Cutting away our organs leaves us damaged sexually, physically, psychologically and socially whether it's excising the cervix, the uterus or through castration (the medical term for excising the ovaries). I would love to see more research done on sexuality after these surgeries, even though, personally, I don't need a study... I am one now.

I use the power of prayer, welcome the support of amazing family members & friends, journal, seek rehab therapy (there are exercises beyond Kegels that can improve circulation to the vaginal area), read and self educate as much as I can. I also allow myself to mourn my losses, and at times, that means getting really angry (smacking a tennis racquet on a bed is a great release). I've met with doctors, since, to get answers that were initially never told to me. It's amazing what the power of knowledge can do to help you heal! You know your body best. You know better than any doctor the loss you've experienced. Let go and let the healing process begin. You may also want to look into hormone tests to check your hormone levels, depending on your age. This surgery may have conincided with normal perimenopausal or even menopausal changes.

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