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. It might feel difficult, but rest assured – there is life after prolapse or prolapse surgery.
As specialists in pelvic health, we at Kegel8 understand what you’re going through and are here to help you feel like yourself again.
This guide will answer your questions and give you some tips on how to regain your confidence in the bedroom.
Could Having Sex Make My Prolapse Worse?
Definitely not! As you know, having a prolapse means that your vaginal walls or cervix have bulged or dropped downwards. 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, so you don’t need to worry about your health being damaged – if anything, having fulfilling sex on a regular basis will vastly improve your quality of life! If you still feel concerned, your doctor will be able to reassure you that this is the case.
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.
The position you have sex in doesn’t affect how things feel for your partner (other than in ways unrelated to the prolapse!) but starting with a position where you are on your back will reassure you that it feels just the same and help you feel ready to mix things up if you want to!
Will Sex Feel the Same for Me?
You may find that you feel some discomfort during sex, depending on how severe your prolapse is. Experimenting with different positions can help with this as well; a good one to ease discomfort is to lie on your side with your partner behind you – this means that the penis will not penetrate as deeply. Try to keep your pelvic muscles relaxed during intercourse, as if they are really 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. Most procedures 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.
Does prolapse surgery make you feel tighter?
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.
If you find you are unexpectedly unable to have sex after your prolapse repair surgery or have any concerns at all it is really important to seek advice from your GP for more information and support on your sex life after prolapse surgery.
Can I Have Sex With a Pessary Fitted?
Many women after a prolapse or prolapse surgery will use a pessary – but you might be wondering if you can be sexually active with a pessary fitted. The good news is that 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 in our guide to vaginal pessaries page.
Tips for Great Sex After Prolapse
Regular Pelvic Floor Exercise Will Help
Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) are fantastic for reducing your prolapse symptoms, as they strengthen the muscles inside you and encourage the prolapse to sit higher up. But did you know that Kegels also improve your ability to become aroused and orgasm? This is because the same muscles are also responsible for the amount of sexual sensation you can feel.
Research has shown us that most women can massively improve the strength, tone and skills of their pelvic floor muscles by simply doing pelvic floor exercises. You can do them independently or You can use an electronic pelvic toner to make the most of your time.
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.
Choose Your Lube Wisely
It can be helpful to use plenty of lubrication during penetration to ensure that your internal tissues are not irritated. A good choice would be an organic, water-based lubricant such as those stocked by our friends at StressNoMore. 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.
Try To Relax
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.
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