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How Does a Hysterectomy Affect Libido?

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
Last updated:
Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
Last updated:

It's normal to experience a wave of emotions after a hysterectomy. For many women, the procedure can feel like both a blessing, as well as the end of what once were the fertile chapters of one's life.

But what if this could be a new beginning? What if, once you've healed, you could live a life free from pain and fear, from bleeding and discomfort? What if you had energy and desire?

Libido-- it's the red-hot elephant in the room that you can't seem to shake. Given the circumstances, I'm sure you wonder-- how does a hysterectomy affect libido?

We have some thoughts. Keep reading to learn more about what's possible after recovery.

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a medical procedure in which a surgeon removes a woman's uterus. The uterus is the portion of the female reproductive system that primarily protects growing offspring until birth.

There are a few different types of hysterectomy:

  1. Total hysterectomy - removal of entire uterus, cervix, and possibly the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  2. Partial, or subtotal hysterectomy - the top portion of the uterus (cervix remains)
  3. Radical hysterectomy -  removal of uterus, cervix, tissue on either side of the cervix, and the top part of the vagina

Women experience hysterectomy procedures for a variety of medically recommended reasons. These reasons may include relief from fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, or various types of reproductive cancers.

How does a hysterectomy affect libido?

Does a hysterectomy affect your libido? The data suggests that there is an opportunity for pleasurable and sustainable sex life, though you might experience a few temporary hangups. These obstacles are very normal and very manageable--with the right support.

Your hormones

Unlike the removal of the ovaries or the fallopian tubes-- which impact estrogen levels and cause menopause-like side effects like hot flashes, depression, and vaginal dryness--having a hysterectomy tends to result in minor physiological symptoms and should relieve a woman's pain, discomfort, and bleeding.

Because the ovaries share a blood source with the uterus, a full or partial hysterectomy can cause hormonal imbalance-- even without the removal of the ovaries. While these imbalances may not be as extreme as the symptoms that made the procedure necessary, they can affect one's confidence, energy, sex drive, and other crucial bodily functions. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Skin problems
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches

Stressing over these changes can also be a severe blocker to sexual desire. It is important to monitor these symptoms and seek treatment from a professional.

Pain and discomfort

For many women, a hysterectomy means the end of painful and inconvenient menstrual periods. The embarrassment, excessive blood loss and crippling uterine cramps will be resolved once the culprit has been successfully removed.

Unfortunately, some women do experience lingering pain after a hysterectomy. It is, of course, a major surgery. There will be pain, scarring, and inflammation post-op, which requires a great deal of recovery.

Psychological challenges

After the uterus or other reproductive organs are removed, it is normal for a woman to experience a period of grief or depression. To some, the uterus is a symbol of fertility and motherhood. Without a uterus, a woman will no longer be able to conceive and carry a child.

Mental health needs to be prioritized during one's rehabilitation. The brain is our most important sex organ. Without it, there is little hope for the rekindling of the flame.

Sex and libido after a hysterectomy

There are definitely things a woman can do to make sex after such an intense and potentially emotional medical procedure a reality. Considerations such as a proper, slow recovery, supporting general wellness, and sex therapy have been known to increase female libido after a hysterectomy.

Recovery period

Take your recovery seriously. Your doctor will provide you with post-op guidelines, which you will need to follow before waking up your libido-- even though we know that it has a mind of its own.

Just trust us when we say-- find alternatives to sex while you're in the 4-6 week period after your hysterectomy. Your body (and your future orgasm potential) will thank you.

Start slow

Six weeks after surgery, most doctors will greenlight their patients for penetrative sex. Even so, you are certainly not required or expected to "jump off the deep end" right away.

Moving too fast can cause unnecessary and unwanted pressure in the bedroom. This is bad news for sex and libido after a hysterectomy, which thrives in an environment of comfortability and relaxation.  

Take it easy, and don't rush into things. Start with bubble baths, quality time, and always plenty of foreplay.

Pain-free under the sheets

If you're feeling like nerves or discomfort are getting the best of you, there's no shame in a little bit of help. Reach for your favorite personal lubricant, and get ready to communicate more than ever. Guiding your partner into comfortable and pleasurable positions will most certainly work out in your favor. Communication will be key, as well as knowing your physical limitations.

Get back to living your life

How does a hysterectomy affect libido? It's a completely reasonable concern to have. While it can feel like a slight detour, it certainly doesn't have to be a permanent obstacle to healthy sex life. It is possible to get back on track to the life you want, with the partner you love.

For guided activities and support from qualified sex therapists, download the Blueheart app. It might be the boost you need to begin this next chapter in your sex life.

Ease back into it
Blueheart has helped numerous people reduce their anxiety and stress around sex. Learn how to feel good, how to communicate with your partner and how all of this works.
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