Question:

I was recently told I have a fibroid 16cm large. Is it possible for me to have the fibroid removed without having a full hysterectomy? Alternatively, if I do have a hysterectomy, how would this affect my sexual life?

Answer:

Fibroids, or muscular tumors that grow in the uterine wall, are extremely common. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 – 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age fifty.1 Thirty percent of those diagnosed experience symptoms severe enough to require intervention.2 Fibroid symptoms may include: heaving bleeding, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower back pain, enlargement of lower abdomen, feeling of fullness in the lower stomach area, complications during pregnancy and labor, and/or reproductive issues (which are very rare).3 Treatment for fibroids includes both surgical and non-surgical methods; a detailed account of treatment options can be found on our website and on this fact sheet.

Not all fibroids have to be removed and a hysterectomy is not your only option for treating them. A hysterectomy may be a medically necessary procedure under life-threatening circumstances, such as unmanageable bleeding. People who undergo a “full” or “total” hysterectomy remove their uterus and cervix, whereas a partial hysterectomy removes only the upper part of the uterus. Recovery time for a hysterectomy ranges from three to six weeks. Patients undergoing hysterectomy are typically advised to wait at least six weeks after surgery to resume sexual activity. Regarding the impact of a hysterectomy on sexual function, some sources claim women may experience pain during intercourse. However, others state that some women experience increased sexual pleasure after a hysterectomy. Ultimately, there is not enough consistent evidence to know what the effects of a hysterectomy are on sexual function. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider to determine whether treatment is necessary.


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References 

1. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.html#a
2. https://www.nwhn.org/uterine-fibroids/
3. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.html#k