There are numerous reasons why women may get a hysterectomy. Some women may experience excessively heavy or painful periods caused by fibroids, others may suffer from uterine or ovarian cancer. Some have a prolapsed uterus, while others suffer from conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or andenomyosis. The procedure itself has a profound impact on the body. Pelvic pain after a hysterectomy is incredibly common, and many women don’t discuss it with their partners. However, pelvic pain does not have to be a permanent side effect of a hysterectomy. Help is out there, and not difficult to find if you know where to look.
What Is a Hysterectomy?
Consider this: the cervix and uterus are pretty much the physical anchor at the center of the female pelvis. The associated ligaments are the literal structure and support for the pelvic bones and organs. Therefore, when the uterus is removed, it can affect all the pelvic organs, the lower back, as well as the skeletal structure. During a total hysterectomy, the surgeon cuts into the top of the vagina around the cervix, which then has to be closed. The edges of the remaining tissue are sutured shut, which shortens the vagina. The amount of tissue that is removed from around the cervix depends on the doctor. Some say 5 centimeters is a good post-hysterectomy vaginal length, while others think 3 to 4 centimeters is fine. That’s quite a difference in if you’re a typical woman who is used to vaginal length anywhere between 7 and 17 centimeters
Possible Side Effects
A shortened vagina and post-surgical pelvic weakness mixed with common thoughts of decreased femininity, new kinds of pain “down there,” and a slew of other physical and psychological side effects of having one’s reproductive anatomy removed can make it incredibly difficult to enjoy sex. Pain can then lead to anxiety about pain whenever the subject of sex arises in the bedroom, which can increase muscle tension and then—yes, you guessed it—more pain. A trained pelvic floor therapist can help with this, and she may suggest vaginal dilators.
Pelvic Pain Relief
Vaginal dilators have been proven effective not only in the clinic, but also at home. Vaginal dilators are tube-shaped devices made of plastic or silicone that come in various sizes to help increase vaginal capacity and length. The goal of dilator therapy is to slowly increase the dilator size, so that eventually you insert the largest size without discomfort. Not only is this a physical therapy, but also a mental one. When the brain learns that insertion won’t always be uncomfortable, it can more easily allow the body to relax, resulting in more comfortable pelvic exams and vaginal sex.
How long this will take varies from person to person. Patience is key, though. This is not a therapy that should be rushed, as rushing is counterproductive. Some therapists will recommend the initial sessions be done in the office before it’s attempted at home and possibly even with a partner. It’s common for even the most supportive of partners to inadvertently create anxiety that is not conducive to healing. Relaxation techniques may be used in conjunction with dilator therapy, where the woman consciously relaxes pelvic, abdominal, and thigh muscles, and focuses on slow, steady breathing exercises.
Start Healing Today
Pelvic pain after a hysterectomy is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s incredibly common, but often not something women like to discuss. If you’re in a sexual relationship, keep the lines of communication open so that your partner can understand the pain and the anxieties associated with that pain. BioMoi Vaginal Dilators might very well be the path you need to start feeling like you again. It’s not just about sex, but about embracing this part of your life. You’re as feminine as you feel, and feeling good about your body is important if you want to experience the quality life you deserve.