Women have sex more often after hysterectomy.

Women’s sex lives improve dramatically after hysterectomy, say authors of a two-year study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Contrary to conventional wisdom, many women enjoy increased sexual desire, have stronger and more frequent orgasms and experience less pain during intercourse after hysterectomy.

“We realize that our findings may be controversial,” says Dr. Kristen Kjerulff, associate professor of epidemiology and main investigator for the study. “The common perception has been that hysterectomy leads to sexual problems, but our evidence shows the opposite.”

The study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed 1,300 women between the ages of 35 and 50 over a two-year period. The women were interviewed before their hysterectomies, after the surgery, and five times during the two years. They were asked how often they had sex, about the frequency and strength of orgasm, and whether or not they experienced discomfort associated with vaginal dryness.

The Findings:

  • The number of women having sex at least five times a month increased by 10 percent.
  • After surgery, 72 percent said they had orgasms, compared to 63 percent before surgery.
  • The percentage of women reporting strong orgasms increased from 45 percent before hysterectomy to 57 percent after surgery.
  • The number of women experiencing painful intercourse dropped form 40 percent before hysterectomy to 15 percent two years later.
  • Least improved was vaginal dryness. The number without vaginal dryness rose from 37 percent before hysterectomy to 46 percent after surgery, and 35 percent who had dryness before the hysterectomy showed no measurable improvement.

Authors of the study believe hysterectomy provides relief from pain during sex and in turn restores desire and improves overall health.

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus that also can be accompanied by removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The leading cause is uterine fibroids, benign tumors that develop in the uterus.

Almost 600,000 women in the United States undergo hysterectomies every year. Dr. Kjerulff says a small percentage of women suffer sexual problems after hysterectomy. “Some women were worse off and we don’t want to forget those women, but for the vast majority of patients, negative symptoms were unusual.”

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