Women's Sexual Function Improves After Hysterectomy
WebMD News Archive
Approximately 37% of women reported no vaginal dryness prior to
hysterectomy. At 12 and 24 months posthysterectomy, approximately 47% reported
no vaginal dryness. However, 9% of women who did not have vaginal dryness
before hysterectomy reported this problem after surgery and 35% of women with
vaginal dryness before hysterectomy reported persistence of the problem. Use of
hormone replacement therapy or lubricants can alleviate vaginal dryness and
should be discussed with patients prior to hysterectomy so they can be prepared
should vaginal dryness develop, the researchers say.
Frequency of sexual desire increased significantly, with more than 70% of
women who reported low libido before hysterectomy reporting an increase in
desire at 12 months. Very few women with normal libido before hysterectomy
reported a decreased desire for sex. Of 325 women who reported no sexual
activity prior to hysterectomy, over 140 were sexually active in the months
prior to the 12-month interview and almost 150 were sexually active in the
months prior to the 24-month interview.
Rhodes says the findings will not be a surprise to physicians who perform
hysterectomies because most have known for years that the majority of women
have good outcomes in terms of sexual functioning. "One of the things this
study can be used for is to help many of those physicians reassure their
patients by showing that indeed, this large group of women did feel better
after hysterectomy," she says.
Another significant finding was that women who were depressed prior to
having a hysterectomy had less improvements in sexual functioning than
nondepressed women. Rhodes and colleagues suggest future research should
examine whether giving antidepressants prior to hysterectomy improves symptoms
as well as sexual outcomes.
- After having a hysterectomy, many women experience an improvement in sexual
functioning, including increased frequency of sex, increased desire, and a
decrease in painful or uncomfortable intercourse.
- There is a general perception that a hysterectomy may actually impair
sexual function, but now physicians have scientific data to reassure patients
that this is not the case.
- Women who were depressed prior to hysterectomy showed less improvement than
those who were not depressed.