Your Sex Life After a Prolapse

Kegel8 can help you regain a happy sex life

A pelvic organ prolapse can really knock your self-esteem and leave you feeling uncomfortable in your body. If you’re in a romantic relationship, you may have some specific concerns about whether you can continue to have a sex life that is satisfying for both you and your partner.

This guide will answer your questions and give you some tips on how to regain your confidence in the bedroom.

As specialists in pelvic health, we at Kegel8 understand what you’re going through and are here to help you feel like yourself again.


Could Having Sex Make My Prolapse Worse?

Definitely not! Intercourse involves something being pushed into the vagina – the opposite of a prolapse. There is no risk of your prolapse being pulled out further by sex. If anything, having fulfilling sex on a regular basis will vastly improve your quality of life!


Will Sex Feel the Same for My Partner?

It is very difficult for anyone who’s not a gynaecologist to see or feel a prolapse. You may feel like it’s the most prominent part of your body because you are so focused on it at the moment, but rest assured that your partner will be far more interested in the rest of your body.

Intercourse will not feel different for your partner but to ease yourself back into things you could try starting with the missionary position, as your prolapse will retract when you are lying on your back. This will help your confidence grow and will reassure you that it feels just the same and help you feel ready to mix things up if you want to! The difference your partner may notice is the way you react and how relaxed you are.


Will Sex Feel the Same for Me?

You may find that you feel some discomfort during sex and be more aware of your prolapse, depending on how severe it is. Experimenting with different positions can help; a good one to ease discomfort is to lie on your side with your partner behind you meaning the penis will not penetrate as deeply. Try to keep your pelvic muscles relaxed during intercourse, as if they are tightened up this can also cause things to feel uncomfortable.

If your prolapse has developed to cause urinary incontinence, they you may leak during sex. You can choose to have sex in the bath or shower to make your partner unaware whilst you undergo treatment for your prolapse.

If you are one of the many women who can only orgasm from clitoral stimulation, be assured that a prolapse does not affect the nerve endings in your clitoris. These nerve endings are also responsible for vaginal orgasms, so you will still be able to achieve orgasm in whichever way you did before. The reason you may be unable to have an orgasm, is if you are unable to relax.

You can feel free to enjoy oral sex without worrying about your partner being able to see your prolapse. When you are lying on your back, the part of the prolapse that is sometimes visible is pushed back by gravity – this is why it can sometimes be hard for your doctor to find if you are lying down. The nervousness you are feeling around sex at the moment may make it difficult for you to orgasm as easily as before at first, but this will return in time as you feel more relaxed and comfortable with yourself.


Will Having Sex Effect My Surgery?

11% of women undergo a prolapse repair surgery at some point. There are several surgeries which make having sex impossible, as they limit the size of the vagina, and in some cases close it entirely. Your surgeon will make you aware if this is the type of surgery recommended for your condition. As having a prolapse is not life threatening, you will be able to select a less final procedure, which will allow you to continue to have sex.

Any prolapse repair surgery is major and requires adequate recovery time – it can take 6 to 8 weeks before pain subsides. Your doctor will be able to give you the all clear when your body is fully ready. Until this point, do not insert any objects into your vagina. Even once you are given the okay for sex, you may not feel ready; take your time and consider easing yourself in with other sexual activities before trying full intercourse.

As a result of your surgery you will probably find that your vagina is tighter than before, to the extent that you feel some discomfort with penetration. A good way of easing this is to try using dilators or an adult toy while you’re alone, as when you are by yourself you can be fully in control of the extent and depth of penetration. Using a set of vaginal dilators can be helpful as you can vary the girth and slowly work your way up to the size of a penis. You being in control is a good general rule to follow when beginning intercourse again – being on top for the first few times will mean that you’re able to react quickly to any discomfort or pain, as well as being a nice treat for your partner!

You or your partner may become aware of the surgical stitches as they begin to dissolve, they could scratch as they begin to dissolve and protrude from the vaginal wall. Therefore it is advised that you ensure these stitches have fully dissolved before engaging in sex. They may not feel present initially after the 6 weeks as they are still intact, but may be more present over time until they fully dissolve.

If you have had synthetic mesh fitted as extra support for your prolapse repair, this may be noticeable by a male partner. If your mesh begins to come through the vaginal wall, you will need to speak to your doctor and treat it as an emergency. Due to the risks and known complications associated with having a synthetic mesh fitted, it is currently only recommended within the context of research.

Corrective surgery is complex but is possible if you find you are unable to have sex after your initial prolapse repair surgery. Speak to your surgeon for more information.


Can I Have Sex With a Pessary Fitted?

Most pessaries can be removed for cleaning and to allow you to have sex. Speak to your doctor about which pessary is right for you. You can learn more about pessaries and available options on our Pessaries for Pelvic Organ Prolapse page.


Tips for Great Sex

Regular Pelvic Floor Exercise Will Help

Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) are fantastic for not just reducing your prolapse symptoms. As they strengthen the muscles inside you and encourage the prolapse to sit higher up, they also improve your ability to become aroused and orgasm. This is because the same muscles that hold your pelvic floor up are also responsible for the amount of sexual sensation you can feel.

You can use an electronic pelvic toner to make the most of your time. Manual pelvic floor exercises typically work just 40% of your pelvic muscles, whereas the Kegel8 Ultra 20 reaches 90% of them.

It’s not just you that can benefit sexually from pelvic floor exercise – men can do them too! Kegels have been shown to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction, increasing the ability to maintain an erection as they prevent blood escaping from the penis.

If you have a strong squeeze you have a strong orgasm because a strong pelvic floor is a healthy pelvic floor. Strong muscles in your pelvic floor means they are tighter, thicker and more responsive, so when you make love your muscles close tightly around your partner increasing your sensation and creating that delicious orgasm-soaring friction that will amplify and magnify both your orgasms! There’s no secret to a tight vagina - it’s all about the muscles - so if you feel that your love-grip is not what it used to be you need to get exercising and get strong and tight once again.

Childbirth does obviously stretch the muscles of the pelvic floor, and sometimes there is damage to the muscle structure with a difficult birth, but that is no excuse for you to resign yourself to the ‘it just doesn’t feel the same anymore’ brigade and not do anything about it.

Have you "gone off" sex? Doesn’t feel the same anymore? Do you try to avoid having sex? If your pelvic floor is weak, sexual sensation will be reduced and your orgasms may even be a thing of the past. Thankfully Kegel8 has the quick and easy answer to reinvigorate your sex-life. Have you ever stopped to wonder why this man who used to have you gasping for more just doesn’t float your boat anymore? If you’ve lost a grip on your sex-life then the chances are it certainly won’t feel as good for him either. If you suffer stress incontinence you’ve also got those un-sexy leaks to contend with too. In a Swedish study from 2011, women sufferers shared their experiences:

  • 43% stated that their urinary problems impaired their sex life
  • 27% said they had difficulty reaching orgasm
  • 49% were worried about leaking urine during lovemaking

Choose Your Lube Wisely

Having a pelvic organ prolapse can cause your vaginal walls to become thinner – therefore it’s important to use plenty of lubrication during penetration to ensure that your internal tissues are protected. A good choice would be an organic, water-based lubricant. This type of lubricant is great if you are sensitive down there as some additives in non-organic lube can irritate the vaginal lining. Water-based lubes are safer as they have been shown to be more resistant to bacteria and less likely to cause pain during sex, with the added benefit that they are safe to use with condoms. KY jelly can dry out vaginal tissues so steer clear!

Try To Relax

I know that this is easier said than done, but the key to a great sex life in any situation is to relax and allow yourself to enjoy the moment. Remember what you have learnt from this guide – there is no risk of sex making things worse, your body will feel the same as before to your partner, and both they and you are still as capable of achieving orgasm. Try to keep communicating with your partner about how you’re feeling; this is a really important part of any sexual relationship, but is particularly vital if you are having concerns. Sex should be a positive and fun experience for everyone involved; take your time and try to appreciate all the joyful things that are part of being intimate with someone.


Sources

Alshreef, A. Bortolami, O. Dixon, S. Jha, S. Walters, S. J. (2018). Physiotherapy. Impact of pelvic floor muscle training on sexual function of women with urinary incontinence and a comparison of electrical stimulation versus standard treatment (IPSU trial): a randomised controlled trial. [online] 104(1), p 91-97. [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: http://www.physiotherapyjournal.com/article/S0031-9406(17)30054-8/pdf

Duarte, Y. A. O. Laurenti, R. Lebrao, M. L. Santos, J. L. F. Tamanini, J. T. N. (2011). Journal of Neurourology and Urodynamics. Impact of Female Urinary Incontinence and Urgency on Women’s and Their Partners’ Sexual Life. [online] 30(1), p 1276-1280. [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/nau.21039

Guy's and St Thomas', NHS. (2017). Treating your prolapse [online] Guy's and St Thomas', National Health Service, 2017 [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/gynaecology/treating-your-prolapse.pdf

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. (2013). Uterine And Bladder Prolapse. What Is It? [online] Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, 2013 [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/uterine-and-bladder-prolapse

NICE. (2015). Urinary incontinence in women: management, 1 Recommendations [online] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2015 [viewed 14/03/2018]. Available from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg171/chapter/1-Recommendations#physical-therapies

O'Dwyer, M. (2011). The Impact of Urinary Incontinence and Urgency on Women's And Their Partners Sex Lives. [online] Pelvic Floor & Core Works, Hold It Sister, 2011 [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: http://holditsister.com/content/impact-urinary-incontinence-and-urgency-women%E2%80%99s-and-their-partners-sex-lives

Sprock, M. (2018). Vaginal Prolapse Repair and Sexual Activity. [online] Central Florida UroGynecology, 2018 [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: http://www.cfurogyn.com/articles/sexualhelp/SexualActivityAfterRepair

The James Cook University Hospital, NHS. (2016) Advice after prolapse surgery in the vagina, Patient Information [online] South Tees Hospital, National Health Service, 2016 [viewed 03/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.southtees.nhs.uk/content/uploads/45-MICB4807-V1-Advice-Prolapse-Surgery.pdf