Is the Uterus a Sexual Organ? Sexual Function Following Hysterectomy

Sex Med Rev. 2015 Oct;3(4):264-278. doi: 10.1002/smrj.59. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


Introduction: Hysterectomy has been a mainstay of gynecologic therapy for 100 years. It can be postulated that hysterectomy could affect female sexual function due to psychological factors, and also due to disruption of the local nerve and blood supply and the intimate anatomical relationships of the pelvic organs.

Aim: To evaluate the effects of hysterectomy performed for benign conditions on female sexual function.

Methods: Peer-reviewed publications were identified through a PubMed search using the search terms "hysterectomy," "benign," "sexual function," "dyspareunia," "orgasm," "libido," and "dysfunction." The search was completed through to February 2015 and was limited to articles published in English.

Main outcome measure: The main outcome measure was sexual function after hysterectomy for benign conditions. As hysterectomy is performed via various routes, abdominal (open and laparoscopic) and vaginal, sexual function in each group was evaluated.

Results: Studies were of varying methodology. Majority of women demonstrated either unchanged or improved sexual function after hysterectomy performed by any route in the short term. A significant minority of women reported sexual dysfunction following hysterectomy. Deterioration in sexual function was found on long-term follow-up, which is probably an effect of aging and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. There were no proven benefits supracervical compared with total hysterectomy either in the short term (up to 2 years postsurgery) or long term (up to 15 years after hysterectomy).

Conclusions: Women can be positively reassured that hysterectomy does not negatively affect sexuality. Health professions should be aware that a minority of women may develop adverse effects after the operation. Preoperative education about the potential negative sexual outcomes after surgery may enhance satisfaction with hysterectomy, independent of whether negative sexual outcomes are experienced. Thakar R. Is the uterus a sexual organ? Sexual function following hysterectomy.

Keywords: Benign; Dyspareunia; Hysterectomy; Libido; Orgasm; Sexual Function.