Hysterectomy: Your Sex Life, Your Hormones, Your Future (Part 1)

What you need to know about getting a hysterectomy

I had a total abdominal hysterectomy nearly two weeks ago. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure removing all or parts of the uterus. A few weeks before, I was advised by two separate gynecologists to have the procedure.

Each year approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the United States. It’s the second most common procedure (after cesarean section) in U.S women of reproductive age. Studies show that black women have higher rates of hysterectomy than any other racial group.

AdobeStock/7activestudio (Image: AdobeStock/7activestudio)

 

 

At first, I was surprised, but not surprised by the diagnosis

You know how it is when you have that “thing” that you need to take care of and you don’t? Women have hysterectomies performed for many reasons. I had enlarged fibroids. Fibroids are the most common tumors of the female reproductive system. The Mayo Clinic reports that black women are more likely to have fibroids than women of other racial groups. In addition, black women have fibroids at younger ages, and they’re also likely to have more or larger fibroids.

Fibroid tumors come in all shapes and sizes

Tumors are most commonly detected by your gynecologist (GYN) during a routine examination. Your GYN may order imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasounds, or an MRI to diagnose the tumor. UCLA Health reports that in 99% of fibroid cases the tumors are benign (non-cancerous).

Uterine fibroid medical concept as a human female reproduction uterus disease symbol for fertility problems and reproductive system health. (Image: AdobeStock/freshidea)

 

Symptoms may include heavy and prolonged menstrual cycles, cramping, bladder pressure, difficulty urinating, backache, leg pain, anemia, and fatigue. I was experiencing all of these symptoms.

But when the doctor said we needed to remove my uterus

I wasn’t ready for that. I needed to process it, so I took my time with it. As I began to share the news with people in my life (plus that random stranger during happy hour), some interesting questions came up. I welcomed them all.

Writing this now, I know for sure that being open and allowing people in has helped me tremendously in recovering well. Some questions really threw me, though.

I am no lesser a woman after the hysterectomy

I found myself explaining to people that this wasn’t going to affect my womanhood. A male friend asked me if I would be less feminine after. For me, the answer was and is no and I told him so. I never questioned that. I wondered about sex.

Let’s talk about sex

At 42, I desire the experience of loving, intimate, straight up mind-blowing sex well into my 70s. To increase my chances of forever sex, I would need to save at least one of my two ovaries. Women friends told me to fight for my ovaries.

I called Dr. Kameelah Phillips on a Sunday afternoon for advice. She’s an OB/GYN practicing in New York City and founder of OBabyMaternity.com. I was more confident and prepared after we spoke. We’re sharing more in upcoming articles, follow them HERE. For now, here’s some of what Dr. Phillips shared with me when I asked her what to expect as it relates to intimacy (sex) after a hysterectomy.

She said

“The impact of a hysterectomy on your level of intimacy is dependent on a few factors, primarily how the hysterectomy was performed and if the ovaries were removed. 

If the ovaries are removed your libido, lubrication, and comfort may be compromised.  If a woman is not already in menopause, removal of the ovaries will induce a surgical menopause. 

The sudden loss of estrogen can lead to hot flashes, mood changes, change in libido, and possible vaginal dryness.  All of these symptoms can negatively impact intimacy. If the patient is a candidate, hormone replacement therapy, vaginal lubrication, or vaginal estrogen can help minimize some of these issues.”

My GYN saved one of my ovaries, now I feel like there is hope for forever sex.

Was this article helpful? Read more HERE. Questions? Share in the comments section and send this to friends

 

 

 


Elisha_White_Shirt_Profile+Elisha Lowe is a registered nurse, business strategist, writer, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker with two decades of experience in healthcare. She works with top healthcare organizations to grow novel products that support improved patient outcomes. You can follow her on Twitter @ElishaLoweRN or learn more at www.elishalowe.com.

 
  • Takima

    Elisha,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your ability to identify a challenge that needed your attention is the most loving act you can give your feminine mind, body and soul.

    With love and respect,

    TCD

    • Hi Takima! I am in 100 % agreement. It’s important to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and that is an act of kindness. I procrastinated a bit when it came to getting help. Don’t do thatThank you for your comment!

  • Yes for a life long sex life! And thanks for the info. I know many women in my family have had this procedure and it helps me be mentally prepared

  • Katina Carter-Geiger

    I think this article will be helpful to women facing this same issue or any issue similar. It’s very brave of you to share your personal experience.

  • jeffrey white

    Great article and very concise, my wife has endometriosis and wand a hysterectomy but scared of losing sex drive she’s 49 she has cysts on her ovaries but wants to keep them. hopefully this will help with her decision. thanks again. jeffrey

    • Altonya

      I had the same issues I had everything removed and it has not changed my sex drive. I want it more and I don’t have to use any lubricant because I wasn’t affect at all. I guess it depends on the persons body.

  • Lillian Carpenter

    I had my hysterectomy almost 17 years I was almost 30 it was the best thing I could have done for myself. The first time I was told I sho

  • PL johnson

    Thank you so much for this. I’m having a partial in March. I’m now going in feeling ready

    • Altonya

      I had a partial first and ended up have to get the whole thing. From experience I would have them take everything because I know with me the problems came back and I kept getting cyst.

  • Pingback: Hysterectomy: Your Sex Life, Your Hormones, Your Future (Part 1) – Elisha Lowe RN BSN MBA()