Dear Dr. Betty,
I don't get it. Doctors admit there are few nerve endings in the vaginal walls; yet after they take us apart during a full hysterectomy, that's all we have left: the clit and the vaginal birth canal. Are we expected to magically grow nerve endings in those walls to facilitate orgasms post-hysterectomy? If so, I must have missed "retraining" day because my vaginal walls have the same slack sensations they've always had, only now they're 2/3 shorter and sore from a mesh protrusion.
Before my hysterectomy, which was done for the doctor's benefit during a bladder lift, I always looked at my vaginal walls just as a way to accommodate and transport something -- a penis, a toy, fingers -- up to where the REAL action was: the cervix and uterus!
Doctors don't tell us much about our bodies so I had to figure this out AFTER surgery. I figured out THAT'S where my "oh my god" moments were. Things up there (above the vag walls) gripped me, made me quiver, throb, pulse, and spasm, over and over, taking me to the edge of the only orgasms I've known since I was 13.
Doctor Dodson, let me ask you: when a baby nurses and it causes that little spasm in the mother's tummy; isn't that actually a uterine spasm? When the uterus is removed in hysterectomy, do doctors bother to reconnect those severed nerve lines from the mother's breasts to another spot in her pelvic anatomy, or does he just cut and throw out with the other "useless" female parts and pieces? I was shocked when my lover fondled my breasts and they no longer contained any erotic connection to the pelvis. I no longer feel or enjoy breast play. My once-wonderful, sweet sensations from breast to pelvic are broken connections; I've been robbed of them without any mention in the surgical disclaimers. This is outrageous.
I feel brutally cheated because I was never told I'd also lose my orgasms and their intensity. My (new) doctor said only 10% of women have uterine orgasms. So, I must have been having the "rare" kind. Can't doctors ascertain before taking the organs out if you need them for sex? Can't they ask something like, "Can you orgasm without something inside of you?" I needed clitoral rubbing as well as coordinated pushing -- deeply -- up, up high inside before I'd get off properly. After surgery, my first clue that my orgasms were gone was when my sleep orgasms abruptly disappeared. I'd still have the erotic dream, but instead of waking up in deep, huge throbs of ecstasy, I'd wake up shocked that I felt absolutely nothing except frustration. The awake orgasms are pathetic, too: they are a fraction of their former strength and shorter (2 - 3 spasms vs. my old ones that were 8 - 13, sometimes lasting close to 30 seconds if I was on testosterone). My vaginal wall has a stiff piece of mesh protruding and it's causing an ulcer that both me and my partner feel.
And on top of this, the surgeon broke my pudendal nerve. Do you think that could be the cause of this whole disaster? I can't hold my feces more than 25 seconds or it starts coming out; I pee myself easily; I wipe thinking I'm all done but the tissue gets soaking wet with more pee; so I'm peeing without the sensation of doing it. Also, my clit is virtually invisible. It has 75% less volume than it did before the surgery. Is it possible the nerve endings that supply the blood were severed? What other nerve lines are involved in this surgery and besides their being cut altogether, can they get damaged (thus causing the muted sensations) or can the mesh be growing into it?
What a disaster! After reading your email, I immediately thought "Sue the bastard for malpractice" but then I realized that most surgeons all do a similar procedure. But you can bet when they cut into a man's sex organ, nary a nerve is cut and most men are not even having orgasms with their fast ejaculations!
I can only hope that through consistent stimulation, your clitoris will fill out once a blood supply is being pumped into her via a good vibrator. Do you have access to your pelvic floor muscle (the PC muscle of Dr. Kegel's exercise post birth?) If so then perhaps not all is lost. However it will mean retraining your body to sexually respond to a whole new kind of stimulation. Also that mesh monster you mentioned must be corrected and I'm sure you will seek out another doctor for reconstruction surgery. And choosing a woman isn't always a solution either.
A client of mine who had a hysterectomy with a female doctor presented a very short vaginal barrel that would barely accommodate my 6 inch vaginal barbell that's a resistance device for toning the PC muscle. It's also a sleek stainless steel dildo that stays in place thanks to weighing a pound. When I asked if she'd had surgery and explained how short her vagina was, she broke into tears finally understanding her discomfort with vaginal penetration. Her surgeon was a woman doctor! None of them get any sex information in med school and other than birthing which is better left to a Doula, a woman trained in birthing, we did better before all this invasive surgery became available. (In all fairness, I'm grateful for my bilateral hip replacement that kept me from spending my old age sitting in a wheelchair.)
The only thing I can say that might be of some solace is that nerves can and do grow back, but it takes time. Although I don't know how long it's been since your surgery, a procedure like yours would take a year or more to heal. Since I'm not an medical doctor but a PhD sexologist, I rely mostly on my own and women's personal experiences. I'm rooting on your clitoral sensations returning combined with you consciously squeezing and releasing your pelvic floor muscles to get you through the worst patch of your recovery. There is a hysterectomy available that leaves the lower part of the uterus intact. But few do it as it takes more skill and time. I don't pretend to understand the complexities of the female sex organs. However surgeons wielding scalpels need to be held to much higher standards when it comes to procedures dealing with a woman's sex organs. Please keep me informed as I know other women have suffered similar fates.
PS. I'll post your email and perhaps a few women will respond.
Who in God's name survives this?