Intimacy after Hysterectomy: The Wait
Post-op hysterectomy patients are most often told “nothing in the vagina for six weeks and/or until the doctor exams the stitched vaginal cuff during a routine post-op exam and sees it healing properly.”
During a hysterectomy (when the total uterus is removed, including the cervix) the top of the vagina is stitched closed to make a vaginal cuff. This area is full of stitches that require healing. Sexual intercourse, both anal and vaginal, can tear these stitches. It can also introduce bacteria into the vagina, causing an infection—oral sex can also introduce bacteria.
It is important that you curtail all sexual activities until your doctor examines you and releases you. It is for your own good!
While intercourse, both vaginal and anal (oral is also discouraged due to bacteria), is strictly prohibited, outercourse may be allowed with clearance from your doctor. Keep in mind that the spasms and rush of blood involved in an orgasm can delay healing.
Additional Voices of Warning:
“My doctor told me to wait six weeks, but my husband and I did it on the 4th week. Now I am sitting here with a catheter in me. I had my bladder resting on top of all those stitches in there, so when we did it, we ripped some stitches and made a hole in my bladder which is now a fistula. It is very painful and awful. I have been wearing this catheter for 3 months now and I will be facing another surgery for repairs.”
“Having sex prolonged my urinary tract infection. Due to the infection raging, I have had severe nausea and vomiting. I have lost 14 lbs in the past seven days and have become very dehydrated. I am now on potent anti-nausea pills that they use for chemo patients so that I can become rehydrated. Then, after that, they will start me on a stronger antibiotic for the UTI.”
“I have seen surgery done on a woman who had sex at 1 week post-op. She had semen in her abdominal cavity and a raging infection because of the contaminated opening into what is supposed to be a sterile environment. Her bladder was stuck to her vagina and her bowels were a mess.”
The bottom line is simple: nothing in the vagina until released by the doctor. S/he is the only one that can know for certain that the stitches have healed properly. Once you’ve been released for all intimate activity, a good lubricant or intimate moisture also helps. Remember to be kind and gentle to your body during the first few months after your hysterectomy.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Intimacy after Hysterectomy | The Wait