You may like to know why some women experience a loss of sex drive after hysterectomy and what you can do to change this.
Some women find that sex improves after the hysterectomy and others may find it negatively affects their sexual feelings.
Losing interest in sex is a common complaint after a hysterectomy in particular in women whose ovaries have been removed.
This is often just a temporary phase that resolves itself after you begin to recover. But if it persists beyond this, there are often things that you can do to increase your sex drive.
Reasons for Post Hysterectomy Loss of Sex Drive
There are a number of reasons why your sex drive can take a nosedive or disappear completely after a hysterectomy:
1.When they remove the uterus they have to cut through certain structures, nerves and blood vessels. This may result in a loss of sensation in the clitoris, vagina, and labia. Together with less vaginal lubrication this may make intercourse painful and affect sexual pleasure. And this can result in a lack of interest in sex.
2. Hormonal imbalances can be a culprit, especially if both the womb and ovaries have been removed. Your ovaries produce the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and removing them can result in sudden menopause. So when they remove the ovaries as part of a hysterectomy, some early menopause symptoms can occur very abruptly and this can trigger loss of sex drive.
3. A percentage of women (14-17% ) may have problems with urinary incontinence after a hysterectomy. This may cause feelings of anxiety and embarrassment. The fear of leaking urine or an unpleasant odor may kill any sexual desire.
4. Women undergoing a hysterectomy may have depressive feelings because of their loss of femininity, symptoms of early menopause or incapability to conceive. Women suffering from post hysterectomy depression often feel miserable, tired and a sense of loss which puts a damper on their sex.
5. Gaining a lot of weight after a hysterectomy can also be a reason. How comfortable you feel with your body can highly affect your sexual confidence.
What are some methods for improving sex drive after hysterectomy?
HRT and Other Hormone Therapies
If your sex drive is negatively affected by your hysterectomy, you may still be able to increase it again through hormone therapy.
Estrogen therapy (also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy) can counteract some of the symptoms of a surgically induced menopause. As the name suggests, it replaces the estrogen that your body is no longer making (if your ovaries have been removed). This therapy can be very successful in increasing sex drive after a hysterectomy.
It turns out that specifically, estradiol is critical for increasing a woman’s desire. Some studies show that therapy with estrogen at levels found around the time of ovulation, this is when they peak, help to increase libido in postmenopausal women.
After hysterectomy testosterone levels also decline and may cause a lack of sexual desire. Low dose testosterone therapies with transdermal patches, subcutaneous implants, creams or gels have successfully treated low libido in postmenopausal women. Testosterone does not only improve sexual function but can also have a positive effect on mood, cognition and bone density.
In the US women can only get testosterone gels and creams from compounding pharmacies. This is where they’ll produce a hormone replacement formula for you made of bioidentical hormones specifically for your individual needs.
Unfortunately, in the US there are still no FDA approved treatments with testosterone for women. This also means that you can’t get a prescription for it.
Bear in mind that women need to be cautious with testosterone therapy designed for men. They may contain excessive doses of testosterone and are unsuitable for women because of its masculine side effects.
Supplements for Loss of Sex Drive after Hysterectomy
Can you take supplements for loss of sex drive after hysterectomy? Some herbs have been used for many centuries to increase libido. We listed a few of these well known herbal aphrodisiacs below. These herbs may help to balance hormone levels, reduce stress, elevate mood, increase energy levels and increase blood flow. All very beneficial if you try to increase your sex drive.
- Maca powder
- Pine pollen
- Catuaba Bark
- Tongkat Ali
It’s best to speak to your doctor before you start taking any herbal supplements. They may be natural but they can still potentially interact with some prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Can Diet Affect Female Libido?
Can what you eat affect your sex drive? Yes, if your diet is lacking certain vitamins or minerals this may result in a low sex drive after hysterectomy.
Boron, chromium, iodine, iron selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus all play an important role in the balance of sex hormones. A deficiency of these minerals may also result in sexual health issues and infertility.
For example, there is a strong correlation between magnesium and testosterone. So to boost your libido so you may want to try eating more foods that are rich in this mineral. Lots of people are deficient in magnesium without realizing it. This is quite common for women who have gone through the menopause due to hormonal changes. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, dark chocolate, and whole grains are all a rich source of magnesium.
Soy and protein also play a role in improving sex drive. This is because soybeans are a natural source of isoflavones, which are thought to mimic the role of estrogen, though to a lesser extent than natural estrogen. If you eat a diet rich in soy products, and cruciferous vegetables you will significantly increase your intake of phytoestrogens.
If you have a history of breast cancer, you may need your doctor’s advice about whether it is safe to include more phytoestrogens in your diet or in the form of supplements. Some doctors advise against this in case of hormone-responsive cancers.
Other ways to boost your sex drive after hysterectomy
Enjoying an active sex life after hysterectomy is definitely possible but it needs work, some fantasy and being open to trying new things.
Sometimes women even though they are interested in sex they have problems getting aroused. Try to experiment with things that may turn you on like watching a sexy movie together or using a vibrator.
Take extra care of your intimate parts by massaging daily with a moisturizer. This will help to make the vulvas and vaginal tissues more flexible and increase the blood flow in that area.
Doing regular Kegels exercises may help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve sexual satisfaction. Some of the benefits of exercising the pubococcygeal (PC) muscle are a better blood circulation to the vagina, becoming more easily aroused and intenser orgasms.
Loss of sex drive is for some an unfortunate side effect of hysterectomy. Hormone therapies can be effective, especially for younger women who have gone into early menopause because of a hysterectomy. You can also try to improve your sex drive by eating a healthier diet, getting more sleep and exercising regularly if you prefer to go down the natural route.
Effects of Hysterectomy on Sexual Function– Risa Lonnée-Hoffmann and Ingrid Pinas
Increasing women’s sexual desire: The comparative effectiveness of estrogens and androgens. – Cappelletti M, Wallen K
Diet And Low Sex Drive – Dr. Sarah Brewer
Low Libido? Here’s How to Have Great Sex After Menopause – Everyday Health