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"What causes painful intercourse after hysterectomies?"
My partner had a hysterectomy more than a year ago, but it seems like intercourse has never become normal for her since then. She doesn't like to talk about it, but it's clear that it's causing her a lot of pain. Is this normal, or is it some sort of complication?
Painful intercourse is known as dyspareunia. This can happen both in the post-hysterectomy setting as well as in the normal setting. I encourage you to have your partner see her OB/GYN as there are a few complications that should be ruled out. First off, probably the most common complication after hysterectomy that affects sexuality is depression. We know that women are at risk for depression after a hysterectomy. This is likely due to the strong association of the uterus with womanhood. We also known that sexual dysfunction is extremely common in depression. I would consider this as a possible problem that should be addressed. There are some anatomic problems that can occur as well. Firstly, some women report a decrease in vaginal lubrication after hysterectomy. This depends on if the ovaries were also removed--but could happen even if they were not. Some women will require artificial lubricants for sexual comfort. Another problem is bladder prolapse or rectal prolapse. Hysterectomy can weakened the vaginal walls. Her OB/GYN can rule this out. The other consideration is pain at the vaginal apex (the end of the vagina were uterus was and is now closed). Scar tissue can form their. This rarely causes pain with intercourse and can sometimes require blocking the nerves to the area or even another surgery. Talk to her OB/GYN as he or she can help.
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