Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Hysterectomy Won't Lower Sexual Function

'Compelling' Evidence That Surgery Improves Quality of Life
WebMD Health News

Oct. 23, 2002 -- New research should help reassure the roughly 600,000 women in the U.S. who have hysterectomies each year. Investigators found no decline in sexual and bowel function among women taking part in a British study, and urinary function actually improved.

"The lay press has given many women the idea that having a total hysterectomy will affect their orgasms," says Joseph Schaffer, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW). "Worries about sexual function are probably the leading reason that women ask for subtotal hysterectomies. This research does not find that one surgery is better than the other in this regard, or with regard to other quality-of-life concerns."

The study compared women having total hysterectomies, in which both the uterus and the cervix are removed, to women having subtotal or partial hysterectomies, in which the cervix is spared. The vast majority of surgeries in the U.S. involve total removal, but there has been some suggestion that the less radical approach results in fewer long-term problems.

Researcher Isaac Manyonda, MD, PhD, and colleagues from St. George's Hospital in London, found little difference one year after surgery among 279 women who had either total or subtotal hysterectomies. No major differences were seen in the frequency of intercourse or orgasm. The study findings are reported in the Oct. 24 issue of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.

Fewer women in both groups reported problems with urinary function -- including frequent and nighttime urination -- following hysterectomies. Women who had subtotal hysterectomies recovered from surgery faster than the other patients, but 7% also continued to experience monthly bleeding or spotting.

"One message from this study is that no one surgical approach is clearly best," Manyonda tells WebMD. "Another message is that this surgery can dramatically improve quality of life."

Hysterectomies are typically performed in women who have abnormal uterine bleeding and pelvic pain. They are far more common in the U.S. than in most other parts of the world, including the U.K., and many experts believe that too many American women have them.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror