Sex and vaginal dryness after hysterectomy
Sex drive after hysterectomy
You may have heard that your sex drive will go down after a hysterectomy and that you’ll no longer enjoy sex. Actually, about 75% of women find that their libido remains unchanged and 20% actually had increased sexual desire. If you expect to have lower libido you may actually think yourself into it.
However, for some couples, the experience of going through a hysterectomy increases the bond between them and sex is better than ever. If your sex drive is low after your hysterectomy, it may be because your ovaries were removed, resulting in hormone imbalance. Natural hormones may help you.
Orgasm after hysterectomy
You may be worried that you won’t be able to climax after your hysterectomy. If you experienced orgasm deep within your pelvis, you may have difficulty climaxing because your uterus and cervix are absent. You can still enjoy orgasm but you’ll have to learn how to do it through stimulation of your clitoris. This will require some patience so don’t despair.
How to ease back into sex after a hysterectomy
- You may need several weeks to heal completely after your operation. Be sure to ask your gynecologist when it is safe for you to resume intercourse.
- Be open with your partner and help him to understand that you need time to recover. Don’t be afraid to touch and hold each other during this time.
- Fear of painful intercourse may lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. If you are well lubricated there should be no pain as your clitoris and labia (the lips covering the vaginal opening) are not affected by the operation.
- Encourage your partner to gently caress your clitoris. This should help with vaginal lubrication and arouse you.
- Guide your partner’s finger into your vagina slowly and gently. When you’re comfortable, introduce his penis slowly and gently into your vagina. He should not thrust until you’re ready.
- Once the two of you are comfortably, normal sexual desire should return and you may proceed to have normal intercourse.
- If vaginal dryness remains a problem, a lubricating jelly should help. In the long run you may need a natural progesterone/natural estrogen combination cream, especially if your ovaries have been removed.
- If you continue to experience pain in spite of all you precautions, consult your gynecologist.
Vaginal dryness after a hysterectomy
After a hysterectomy, you probably have many emotions and questions running through your mind. You may feel great relief from any previous pain or discomfort you had. You might feel a sense of loss or sadness. As you continue to heal and have some recovery time, you may notice one of the not so comfortable post-operative side effects of vaginal dryness. If so, do not panic because you are not alone. Lots of women suffer from vaginal dryness after hysterectomy and there are quite a few ways to manage it.
What causes vaginal dryness after hysterectomy?
During a hysterectomy the uterus is removed by itself or the uterus is removed along with the ovaries. When the ovaries are removed as well, this causes a rapid change in your body’s hormones. The dryness you experience is a result of decreased estrogen levels. The ovaries are your body’s primary source for the hormone, estrogen.
Even if your ovaries are left intact, you may still have vaginal dryness soon after having a hysterectomy.
The ovaries receive their blood supply from several sources. The blood vessels that supply the uterus also nourish the ovaries. By removing the uterus with its blood supply you are also tampering with the nutrition of the ovaries. Women who have had a hysterectomy with their ovaries left behind are approximately 2 times more likely to develop ovarian failure compared to women of the same age who still have a uterus.
Estrogen is the hormone that is responsible for the female secondary sex characteristics
- Formation of breasts
- Thickening of the endometrium
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Uterine growth
- Thickening of the vaginal wall
- Vaginal lubrication
What can help vaginal dryness after hysterectomy?
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness after your hysterectomy, you should speak with your gynecologist. You may already be taking hormone supplements, in which case your physician may test your hormonal levels to see if your estrogen levels are within normal limits. If your estrogen levels are not within range, they may decide to increase your dosage. If you are not on any hormone supplements they may suggest starting one. This usually helps with a range of other symptoms that occur after a hysterectomy as well.
You may decide not be placed on any oral hormone replacements or may not be candidates for that type of treatment. It should also be mentioned that even if you are taking hormone replacement therapies, you can still experience vaginal dryness after your hysterectomy. If any of these are the case, there are several topical treatments that can help relieve the dryness.
Topical Creams containing Estrogen for vaginal dryness post-hysterectomy
There are creams that contain estrogen that can be applied directly to the vulva. This way you can receive the benefits of the added moisture as well as receive a decent amount of estrogen at the targeted point. These are usually available on prescription only.
Some estrogen containing vaginal creams currently on the market include:
These creams are usually prescribed to be used once a day for a specified period and then application should be reduced to two or three times a week after that.
Vaginal Suppositories containing Estrogen to relieve vaginal dryness
Vaginal suppositories that contain estrogen and added moisture are also available.
- Vagifem is a tiny tablet that is placed into the vagina and releases a bio-identical type of estrogen over a certain time period
- Estring is a plastic ring that is fitted into the vagina and also time releases a type of bio-identical estrogen.
Hormone-free options to treat vaginal dryness after hysterectomy
If you absolutely cannot or do not want to use anything that contains hormones, your doctor may also suggest various topical vaginal moisturizers and lubricants that are free from hormones. Many of these lubricants can be bought over the counter at your local pharmacy.
- Replens is a popular vaginal moisturizers.
- KY Long Lasting jelly is one of the most well known vaginal lubricants. It does however contains methylparaben which can sometimes irritate women who are sensitive to it.
- If you want to try a more natural lubricant there are some other lubricants on the market such as Sylk or Astroglide which is paraben and glycerin free.
- Some women have also had success with using pure natural oil from the health food store. A few dabs of sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil and even vitamin E have shown to assist women with their dryness. Vitamin E vaginal suppositories are also available and are especially helpful because they remain inserted vaginally and slowly release moisture throughout the day.
Vaginal dryness after hysterectomy is very uncomfortable in itself. Unfortunately it can also make intercourse very hard to enjoy. Many of the over the counter sexual lubricants work well for a post-hysterectomy vaginal dryness when attempting intercourse. Don’t feel the need to rush lovemaking after a hysterectomy. Even after the physical healing has occurred there may be psychological healing that needs to take place as well. Keep an open line of communication with your partner and let them know if you need more time. Be open and honest but don’t let vaginal dryness be your reason to not make love. As you can see there are many choices available to deal with this symptom!
Always try to maintain a healthy diet and keep your water intake up. This can help with general body moisture and keeps your body feeling good overall and your skin looking great. Eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Ask our doctor if he or she suggests any type of multivitamin supplement. There are certain supplements such as Omega-3 Fish Oils that help combat the effects of dry skin and can help improve skin dryness throughout your body.
Always listen to your body and stop using any lubricants if they cause you to burn, itch or cause you to have any painful symptoms.
Can you beat vaginal dryness after a hysterectomy?
You sure can! There are lots of ways to treat your vaginal dryness. Each option may work differently for each woman. You will want to experiment until you find the one that works for you.
Reclaim your comfort!