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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK
Womb removal sex fears unfounded
Couple in bed - picture posed by models
Women were asked about the sexual relationships
Women's experience of sexual pleasure improves after they have had a hysterectomy, researchers have said.

Many women fear the operation will lessen their attractiveness or their ability to enjoy sex.

But Dutch researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal, say this does not happen - and their enjoyment may actually increase.

They said the benefits were seen whichever type of hysterectomy women underwent.

The gynaecological problem was masking problems in their relationship
Linda Newall, Hysterectomy Association

Many women who have gynaecological problems find their sex lives are affected. Hysterectomies are given as a way of treating such problems.

Researchers studied 413 women who had undergone hysterectomies.

They had either been given a vaginal hysterectomy (keyhole surgery), subtotal hysterectomy (the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place) or total abdominal hysterectomy (both the uterus and the cervix are removed).

There are concerns that removing the cervix can affect sexual function.

Most women in the UK have total hysterectomies.

Satisfaction

Before they had their operations, the women in the study were asked about their sex lives.

They were also asked about sexual problems such as problems with lubrication, with orgasm or with pain.

They were then asked the same questions six months after surgery.

It was found that sexual activity remained the same for women after the operation, although of the 32 who had not been sexually active before their operation, half did become active after their hysterectomies.

Women said their enjoyment of sex was improved, whichever of the procedures they had undergone.

Sexual problems were also found to be less common after surgery.

Relationships

Writing in the BMJ, the researchers, led by Dr Jean-Paul Roovers, said: "Sexual wellbeing improves after vaginal hysterectomy, subtotal abdominal hysterectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy.

"The type of technique does not seem to determine the persistence or development of bothersome problems during sexual activity."

Linda Newall, director of the Hysterectomy Association, told BBC News Online the research backed up what they had heard anecdotally.

"Women tend to have problems of a sexual nature after hysterectomies because the gynaecological problem was masking problems in their relationship.

"If a woman has a good relationship but has pain on intercourse, when you remove whatever causes the pain, she will recover a better sexual relationship.

"But if they have a poor relationship and pain on intercourse, the problems will remain."




SEE ALSO:
Experts back short womb op
27 Aug 03  |  UK
Womb ops higher in poorer women
14 May 02  |  Health
Many womb ops 'unnecessary'
20 Mar 02  |  Health


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