Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove uterus. This approach is opted only when all other treatment options have failed to give effective relief. But, what happens to your sex life? Above all, where do sperm go after this surgery? Read on for more details.
Surgical removal of a woman’s uterus is termed as hysterectomy. Your doctor may advise this procedure for a few reasons; the major ones are (1) cancer in the cervical region, (2) formation of fibroids, (3), excessive bleeding from your vagina, (4) prolapse of uterus into your vaginal passage, (5) pain in your pelvis (often experienced over a long span of time), etc. A few other medical conditions needing this surgery includes thickening of the walls of your uterus, outgrowth of uterine tissues in external regions (i.e., outside your womb area), etc.
There are different types of hysterectomy. The most common types are radical, subtotal and total hysterectomy.
Radical hysterectomy is usually done when cancer is detected in the uterine region; this procedure is performed for removing the upper portion of the vagina, cervix, uterine tissues as well as the entire uterus.
Subtotal (also known as supracervial) hysterectomy ensures your cervix remains untouched; instead the upper region of your uterus is surgically removed.
As the name suggests, total hysterectomy involves removal of your cervix as well as the entire uterus.
Hysterectomy may at times be accompanied by the removal of your ovaries. Removal of ovaries is termed as oophorectomy. If your medical condition demands removal of the tubes as well, this procedure is called salpingectomy.
In essence, if surgery is done to remove the two ovaries, two tubes and the whole of your uterus, it is known as hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy and salpingectomy.
Different approaches employed to perform hysterectomy
Your surgeon has multiple approaches at her disposal to perform this procedure. The option chosen often depends on your health, your medical condition and the prior experience of your surgeon. The two broader techniques are (1) minimally invasive and (2) open surgical procedure.
Of these two approaches, the minimally invasive path enables quicker recovery with very little room for infections. This approach requires lesser number of days of stay in the hospital and often presents with lesser scars or associated pains. However, not all hysterectomies may be performed through the minimally invasive approach. The most common reasons include size of your uterus, your age, weight (this approach is rarely taken for women who are obese) as well as your prior medical record (especially, scar tissues’ presence owing to earlier procedures, if any).
The aftereffects of hysterectomy
It is important to remember you are not the only woman to have undergone this procedure. In the US, more than 450,000 women go for hysterectomy every year.
Removal of ovaries – as part of hysterectomy – takes you to the menopause stage. Non-removal of ovaries (while performing hysterectomy) means menopause may begin at your younger age. Your surgeon may advise you not to engage in sexual activities for about eight (8) weeks after hysterectomy. You may also be advised not to carry objects that are very heavy.
Women may report an improvement in their sex life because of the absence of excessive bleeding or pains. You may recall that these are the very same symptoms & signs which made them opt for hysterectomy. Some women have also claimed there is no perceptible difference in their sex life. But, ovaries are integral to your libido. Hence, if your ovaries are surgically removed – you may feel a drop in sexual urge.
But, the good news is hysterectomy may not have an impact on the sensations of your vagina. The only problem may be the drying up of your vaginal tissues. Such dryness runs risks of making your sexual activities slightly painful. To address these pains, you can either opt for lubricants (water-based is often recommended) to make sexual activities less painful or can opt for hormone related therapy. Some women may also have their vaginal tract shortened or their canal becoming narrower due to hysterectomy. In such instances, a full penetration can become uncomfortable and painful.
So, where does sperm go after hysterectomy?
Your mind may be nursing a number of questions about hysterectomy. One of the key questions is where does sperm go. This is a fairly simple question to answer. Hysterectomy severs the reproductive parts of your body from your abdominal tract. This means sperm does not have any place to reach, but to stay in the cavity at the end of your abdomen. Sperm in this cavity is discharged out of your body when the vagina eliminates other waste.
Many women find their orgasms are more frequent and more intense soon after hysterectomy. As mentioned, such heightened sexual pleasures can be due to the absence of prior problems – mainly, bleeding and pains. Medical studies state the absence of these signs as a reason for better sexual function.
However, some women do report a drop in their orgasm levels. Studies are yet to find the reasons behind such developments though some insights are already available into this. The effects of hysterectomy on sexual behavior seem to be influenced by areas that are likely to trigger sexual stimulation, and thus lead to an orgasm. For instance, if contractions of your uterine canal are essential to reach orgasm, then hysterectomy may lead to a drop in sexual satisfaction. On the other hand, if you respond to stimulations in the vaginal tract, hysterectomy may have cause very little changes to your sexual experiences.
But, do woman ejaculate after hysterectomy?
Ejaculation among women does not naturally occur with all women. Some 40% or even lesser number of women is known to ejaculate during stimulation or while reaching orgasm. Ejaculation among women is essentially the discharge of bodily fluids once sexually aroused. Women have glands near their urethra to secrete these fluids. Such glands are termed as skene’s glands. These are also broadly called as women’s prostate glands.
You need to understand that it is not the same as those fluids secreted to lubricate the vagina. These fluids are white and milky. They have a thick texture and composition. It is generally found to be rich with glucose and may also contain enzymes of the prostate. In some samples, traces of creatinine have also been observed.
So, do women who have underwent hysterectomy ejaculate? The answer is yes. As hysterectomy does not work on this part of your body, you can ejaculate regardless of this procedure. Based on a clinical study done on women who ejaculate- it has been found that almost 10% of women who report ejaculation have had a hysterectomy performed on them.
What happens to your eggs after hysterectomy?
A procedure wherein your ovaries are removed is termed as oophorectomy. Ovaries are often removed if tissues inside your uterine walls are found to grow outside the canal (a condition called as endometriosis) or if cancerous growth is detected on your uterine or cervical walls. Ovaries – once removed – make you enter into a phase called menopause.
But, if your medical condition does not warrant removal of one or both ovaries, hysterectomy is done by retaining them. Even if one of your ovaries is active, your body will continue to produce eggs on a monthly basis. This means your body has not reached the menopause stage.
So, what happens to such eggs? They will be released only to be discharged (similar to sperm) through the abdominal canal. In extreme cases, women have reported pregnancy after hysterectomy. This is experienced when a connection between cervix or vagina and your abdomen remains active. Through this pathway, a sperm can reach your eggs to cause pregnancy. But, as mentioned- this is not a frequent occurrence and is reported as a one-off case.
Other likely health effects triggered by hysterectomy
You now know what happens to sperm and eggs after hysterectomy. But what are the other effects a hysterectomy procedure may trigger in your body. It makes a lot of sense to know about these effects as well. The key health effects are- (1) constipation – this is only a temporary trouble and you can take laxatives to resolve this post-surgical problem, (2) signs of menopause – these signs may show up if your ovaries are surgically removed as part of hysterectomy; seek advice from your treating doctor (often, a gynecologist) to manage these symptoms; your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy as one of the possible ways to handle this condition, (3) mental health related issues – women may slide into depression or sadness soon after hysterectomy; this is often linked to a psychological loss of an essential body part; this can be treated with proper counselling as well as mental health treatment programs, (4) triggered conditions – hysterectomy may lead to other ailments such as cardiac disorders or bone related problems such as osteoarthritis, etc.
Apart from these, you may also experience incontinence (inability to pass urine), bleeding from your vagina, vaginal discharges (these discharges are often experienced only for a few weeks after hysterectomy), etc. Most importantly, you may find it difficult to carry forth a pregnancy. Uterine support is essential for carrying. In the absence of this essential support, your attempts to carry may pose serious limitations.
So, when should you talk to a doctor?
Hysterectomy is a common procedure done on women. As indicated, more than 400,000 women opt for it every year in the United States. The post-surgical problems are few and with needful follow-up, you can bounce back to your normal life in less than two months.
But, in some remote instances, you may develop a few signs after hysterectomy. You may need to seek your doctor’s advice upon experiencing such symptoms. These include- (1) painful sex, (2) sizeable drop in sexual urge or libido, (3) prolonged bouts of mental sickness – showing up as excessive sadness, depression or mental swings, etc. So, if you happen to have any of these symptoms – in the weeks after a hysterectomy – it is time for you to meet your treating doctor (especially, a qualified and trained gynecologist).
In sum, a procedure like hysterectomy essentially separates reproductive aspects of a woman’s body from her abdominal canal. Hence, sperm does not have any place to reach. Instead, it stays well inside the cavity of your abdomen. It is eventually discharged out of your body when your vagina eliminates other fluids.