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Sex After Hysterectomy: What Studies Have Found

Many women are concerned about the long-term effects of a hysterectomy on their sex life, wrote About.com. Since every woman is different, hysterectomy doesn’t always affect the ability to enjoy sex.

Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, may also include removing the fallopian tubes and ovaries, said the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMM) website.

The leading cause of hysterectomies is uterine fibroids. The procedure may also be used for cancer treatment, abnormal bleeding or endometriosis, a condition which causes pain, bleeding or infertility.

However, wrote WebMD, surgeons haven’t known whether one procedure improves sex after hysterectomy. Researcher Jan-Paul W. R. Roovers, MD, an obstetrics-gynecology professor at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands and his colleagues compared effects of vaginal hysterectomy, abdominal hysterectomy, and abdominal hysterectomy with cervix intact in 352 women.

Sex after hysterectomy was better, regardless of the procedure, said WebMD. Most of the women were sexually active both before and after hysterectomy. But of the 32 women who weren’t sexually active before hysterectomy, 53 percent became sexually active afterwards.

However, continued WebMD, some women who had abdominal hysterectomy continued having lubrication, arousal and sensation difficulties. Ten women who’d been sexually active before hysterectomy were no longer sexually active after.

Another study involving researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine concluded that the sex life of most women dramatically improved after hysterectomy.

Thirteen hundred women who had hysterectomies to treat non-cancerous conditions that caused bleeding, pain or discomfort, were part of the UMM study.

Along with an increased desire for sex, women had sex more often, had stronger and more frequent orgasms, and experienced less pain during intercourse wrote UMM.

Two years after surgery, more than 76 percent of women were having sexual relations, compared to 70.5 percent of women before surgery, said MedicineNet.com.

The number of women having sexual relations at least five times a month increased by 10 percent, wrote UMM. After surgery, 72 percent said they were experiencing orgasms, compared to 63 percent before.

Women having strong orgasms increased from 45 percent before hysterectomy to 57 percent after surgery. Women experiencing pain during sex dropped dramatically, from 40 percent before hysterectomy to 15 percent two years later.

A small percentage of patients did experience sexual problems following hysterectomy, said UMM, but for the vast majority of patients, negative symptoms were unusual.

Many caution that hysterectomy is not always a go-to solution.

Michael Broder, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA Medical School, suggested in his 2000 study that many women should first try other, less invasive treatments, wrote MedicineNet.com.

Broder continued on to say that sometimes, the most common problems that lead to hysterectomy (uterine fibroids, endometriosis and abnormal bleeding) can be treated with hormone therapy or laparoscopic surgery that saves the uterus.

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