A hysterectomy is a surgery that removes the uterus. There are a variety of reasons someone may have this procedure, including uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and cancer.

It’s estimated that about 500,000 women in the United States get a hysterectomy each year.

You may have lots of questions about what sex is like after a hysterectomy — one of which may be where the sperm goes after sex. The answer to this is actually pretty simple.

Following hysterectomy, the remaining areas of your reproductive tract are separated from your abdominal cavity. Because of this, sperm has nowhere to go. It’s eventually expelled from your body along with your normal vaginal secretions.

You may still have some more questions about sex after a hysterectomy. Continue reading as we discuss this topic and more below.

It’s possible that sex may change following a hysterectomy. However, individual experiences may be different.

Studies have found that, for many women, sexual function is either unchanged or improved after a hysterectomy. This effect also appears to be independent of the type of surgical procedure used.

Generally, it’s recommended that you wait 6 weeks after your procedure before having sex. Some changes that you may notice can include an increase in vaginal dryness and a lower sex drive (libido).

These effects are more prevalent if you’ve also had your ovaries removed. They happen due to the absence of hormones that are normally produced by the ovaries.

In some women, hormone therapy may help with these symptoms. Using a water-based lubricant during sex can also ease an increase in vaginal dryness.

Another change that may occur is that the vagina may be narrower or shorter following your surgery. In some women, this may make full penetration difficult or painful.

It’s still possible to have an orgasm following a hysterectomy. In fact, many women may experience an increase in the strength or frequency of orgasm.

Many of the conditions for which hysterectomy is performed are also associated with symptoms like painful sex or bleeding after sex. Because of this, the sexual experience may be improved for many women after surgery.

However, some women may notice a decrease in orgasm. Studies are unclear on why exactly this happens, but it appears that the effects of hysterectomy on sensation may depend on a woman’s preferred area of sexual stimulation.

For example, women for whom uterine contractions are an important aspect of orgasm may be more likely to experience a decrease in sexual sensation. Meanwhile, women who experience orgasm predominantly due to clitoral stimulation may not notice a change.

In some cases, the ovaries may also be removed during a hysterectomy. This is particularly true if they’re affected by conditions like endometriosis or cancer.

If you retain one or both of your ovaries and you haven’t reached menopause, an egg will still be released every month. This egg will eventually enter the abdominal cavity where it will degrade.

In very rare cases, pregnancy has been reported following a hysterectomy. This happens when there’s still a connection between the vagina or cervix and the abdominal cavity, which allows sperm to reach an egg.

Female ejaculation is a release of fluid that happens during sexual stimulation. This doesn’t occur in all women, with estimates being that less than 50 percent of women ejaculate.

The sources of this fluid are glands called Skene’s glands, which are located close to the urethra. You may also hear them referred to as the “female prostate glands.”

The fluid itself has been described as thick and milky white in color. It isn’t the same as vaginal lubrication or urinary incontinence. It contains various prostatic enzymes, glucose, and small amounts of creatinine.

Because this area isn’t removed during a hysterectomy, it’s still possible for a woman to ejaculate after her procedure. In fact, in one survey study of female ejaculation, 9.1 percent of respondents reported having had a hysterectomy.

Some other health effects that you may experience after a hysterectomy include:

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge. This is common for several weeks following your procedure.
  • Constipation. You may have temporary trouble producing bowel movements after your surgery. Your doctor may recommend laxatives to help with this.
  • Menopause symptoms. If you’ve also had your ovaries removed, you’ll experience symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy can help with these symptoms.
  • Urinary incontinence. Some women who’ve had a hysterectomy may experience urinary incontinence.
  • Feelings of sadness. You may feel sadness or a sense of loss after a hysterectomy. While these feelings are normal, speak with your doctor if you’re finding them hard to cope with them.
  • Increased risk of other health conditions. If your ovaries are removed, you may be at an increased risk of things like osteoporosis and heart disease.
  • Inability to carry a pregnancy. Because the uterus is needed to support a pregnancy, women who’ve had a hysterectomy won’t be able to carry a pregnancy.

Some discomfort and feelings of sadness are normal after a hysterectomy. However, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you notice:

  • feelings of sadness or depression that don’t go away
  • frequent trouble or discomfort during sex
  • a significantly lowered libido

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following while recovering from a hysterectomy:

Initially, having sex after a hysterectomy can be an adjustment. However, you can still go on to have a normal sex life. In fact, many women find that their sexual function is the same or improved following a hysterectomy.

In some cases, you may notice changes that impact sexual activity, such as increased vaginal dryness and a lowered libido. Some women may experience a decrease in orgasm intensity, depending on their preferred site of stimulation.

It’s important to discuss the potential effects of a hysterectomy with your doctor before the procedure. If you’ve had a hysterectomy and have trouble or pain with sex or notice a decrease in libido, see your doctor to discuss your concerns.