Hi and thanks for your thoughts and resources on this... I am 47 and have been put on a waitlist for surgery to repair my organ prolapses that remain after my last vaginal birth (13 years ago). After trying pelvic physio, pessary etc, I was unable to find any other solution to address the incontinence and get active again. (Pelvic physiotherapist cautioned against running, or other high impact exercise because it shakes down everything in my vagina...it also feels awful because I can feel all the sagging tissues respond to the momentum.) The surgery I have been offered includes the repair of the vaginal walls with mesh as well as a hysterectomy. I have a lot of concerns about pursuing this surgery and cannot find resources that address my specific concerns. My main concern is about the function of my body related to sex after the recovery period has completed. Both in terms of actual function and in terms of sensitivity and pleasure. When I asked questions of my surgeon, he was quite dismissive, assuring me everything would be fine... I am a VERY sexually active person. Sex is not only my major form of recreation (I'm in an ethically non monogamous long term marriage) but is also related to the direction of my career as I explore using my body in my work through surrogate partner therapy and/or sex work. I can't make decisions about my body lightly, as unexpected results could alter the course of my life in ways that might not impact someone who has a less active sex life. I would be very grateful for some advice, resources or suggestions for finding information that would be relevant to my concerns.
I have been able to speak with our doctor’s at our main STI clinic and can provide a brief summary of what they have suggested.
You are correct this type of surgical procedure you are looking at does carry some risk in regard to how it may change your sexual functioning in the future. I have been able to look at some research papers in regard to this and currently they believe 5 to 20 % of people undergoing surgery for stress incontinence or vaginal prolapse can experience a change in sexual functioning (positive or negative).
Given your concern with possible sexual side effects from any surgery our doctors are advising that it would be good to get a second opinion.
- You could see another Gynecologist to see if they have any other treatment suggestions.
- They also suggested that it would be good to explore Physiotherapy again. I have included a link to a local Physiotherapy and Pelvic Floor Clinic. This is a local clinic in the Vancouver area that uses Biofeedback to help people strengthen their pelvic floor.
Dayan Physiotherapy and Pelvic Floor Clinic
Let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.
This answer was posted on March 21, 2019