Sex After Hernia Surgery

An essential element of a spousal relationship is physical closeness and sex, but medical issues and surgery can disrupt this close bond. People frequently inquire as to when they may resume their jobs or their athletic endeavors following hernia surgery, but they avoid discussing the subject of when they can resume an intimate relationship or sexual intercourse with their partner.

We address several questions concerning sex after hernia surgery below. The Iskandar Complex Hernia Center offers complex hernia surgery and advanced abdominal procedures with unparalleled empathy and expertise so that you can enjoy a dramatically improved quality of life in all areas. Call our office for more information about hernia repair surgery and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Iskandar.

When can you have sex after hernia surgery?

Your best option is to speak with your surgeon about when you can have sex after the procedure at your follow-up appointment. You don’t need to be embarrassed, and we actually prefer it if you ask so that we can provide you with a customized response that won’t jeopardize your health or hernia. There is no one size fits all answer for when you can have sex following your surgery because each hernia is unique in its size, shape, and location.

Regardless of the hernia type you have or the type of hernia surgery performed to treat it, you should anticipate some soreness and to experience post-operative swelling for at least a few days after the surgery.

You may also become easily tired for a week or two after the procedure from anesthesia. It wouldn’t be unexpected to not feel like having sex for a time.

In light of the following factors, your doctor might advise you to avoid sex for a few days to a few weeks:

  • Where and how your hernia surgery is performed
  • Whether there were any issues during the procedure
  • Your age and general health

Sexual activity is typically not restricted following an inguinal hernia laparoscopic surgery. For a week or two, however, you’ll probably have some discomfort near the incision site, which for most people affects sexual activity. Dr. Iskandar has a non-judgemental, listen-first approach to caring for his patients and will be happy to answer all of your questions and concerns regarding sex after hernia surgery.

We can help with hernia surgery recovery because we treat the whole person.

How will hernia surgery affect my sexual activity?

Concern about hernia repair surgeries interfering with sexual performance is a common thing many doctors hear from their patients. An inguinal hernia, often known as a groin hernia, is one particular type of hernia that frequently leads men to worry about how it will influence their sexual function. The majority of this concern over that of other hernia repair surgeries is based on the hernia’s location, the inguinal region, which is, of course, the same place where the hernia will need to be surgically repaired.

It is highly unlikely that an inguinal hernia surgery would result in any type of sexual dysfunction problem. The inguinal canal, from which it commonly protrudes, is where an inguinal hernia gets its name. This canal has its own unique nerves, which are the only ones that are likely to be impacted by an inguinal hernia repair procedure despite being close to the reproductive organs.

Surgery to treat an inguinal hernia may temporarily impair sexual function. This is because using the pelvic floor muscles that have been impacted by the hernia may be challenging or even painful. The sore muscles involved in the hernia repair have an effect on sexual function only temporarily and will return to normal within a short time period.

If an inguinal hernia is not adequately treated, men are significantly more likely to have sexual dysfunctions and problems with their sexual health. Both an orgasm and an erection can be quite painful due to these hernias. The likelihood that the patient may have issues with erectile dysfunction increases as these hernias grow and worsen.

An inguinal hernia can cause problems with a person’s sexual health, but most of the time, the uncomfortable symptoms can be alleviated by having the hernia repaired. The blood vessels to the testicles may occasionally be compromised by hernia surgery. However, a single testis can produce more than enough testosterone; therefore, this is not a concern unless both testicular structures are affected.

It’s crucial to discuss with your doctor when you can resume normal sexual activity following hernia repair surgery. Although the time frame varies from patient to patient, many hernia specialists often advise abstaining from sexual activity for at least a few weeks until the patient’s pain has decreased.

How does the type of hernia repair surgery affect sex after hernia surgery?

The majority of hernias fall into these categories and locations:

  • Inguinal Hernias- Inner groin
  • Ventral Hernias- Abdominal wall
  • Incisional Hernias- Abdominal incision/scar
  • Umbilical Hernias- Belly button
  • Hiatal Hernias- Upper stomach/diaphragm
  • Femoral Hernias – Upper part of the thigh near the groin

The location of the hernia is important to consider when discussing sexual activity while healing. This is important because you need to exercise greater caution if the hernia develops in the groin or diaphragm because these areas are not easily accessible.

The healing from a hernia depends on the type of surgery performed. For instance, you will need to give your body more time to recover if you had an open surgery because the larger wounds cause more bleeding. You will recover more quickly from laparoscopic surgical repair since it requires only a minor incision near the hernia. You can do either type with or without using surgical mesh. Your surgeon may have different restrictions on sexual activity based on these factors.

Is sex painful after a hernia operation?

In the days following a hernia repair, pain is undoubtedly a factor. This is a result of your body adjusting to any implanted mesh and the incisions. How long will sex hurt is a question with a very individualized answer.

There may not be a strong sexual desire in males who have post-operative soreness and swelling of the penis, scrotum, and testicles. Sexual functions might be too uncomfortable or at least very painful for a while. The hernia’s location and the affected muscles are additional factors.

Follow your doctor’s advice regarding how long to wait. When you’re ready to give it a try, find a position that won’t irritate or put a strain on your abdomen.

If you feel any discomfort or a pulling sensation at or close to the incision sites, stop immediately as these can be signs and symptoms your body is not ready for sexual activities. Your body may need more time to heal. It can be wise to postpone sexual intercourse until you have completely recovered if you experience any pain. Healing takes time which can affect your sex life, but it won’t be long before you are able to resume normal activity.

How active am I allowed to be during sex following hernia surgery?

For a while, it’s likely that it will be recommended to refrain from strenuous activities, which would include vigorous intercourse. In this case, follow your doctor’s recommendations.

When your doctor has said it’s ok to try having sexual intercourse, talk openly with your spouse or partner about your worries, what you feel comfortable doing, and what you don’t when the moment is appropriate.

Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Consider the incision’s location and any potential swelling. Select a position that won’t put pressure on, chafe against, or strain it.
  • Have your partner take the lead.
  • Start out by making very small gentle movements, then as your confidence grows, progressively step up your activity.
  • To support your abdomen during sex, hold a pillow close.
  • To get the appropriate angle without strain, use a wedge pillow.
  • Choose oral sex instead of other types of sex since it is less painful.
  • Maintain open lines of communication and be prepared to pause or change course if needed.
  • Pay attention to your body most of all, and listen to its signals. If you’re not ready, your body will let you know, and you don’t want to risk an injury.

Additionally, keep in mind that swelling and soreness following surgery are only temporary; you’ll probably be fully healed and back to your normal routine sooner than you expect.

Can you have sex with a hernia?

Having sex with a hernia, whether femoral or inguinal, is quite challenging. One cannot enjoy sex because of the obstruction and, in certain circumstances, the acute pain that these hernias create. Sometimes surgery is the only option for many reasons, including its effects on sexual function. Many patients accept that they will always have severe pain, frequently because neither they nor their doctors are aware of the alternatives, including laparoscopy. You don’t have to let a hernia ruin your sex life. The Iskandar Complex Hernia Center offers minimally invasive hernia surgeries that help our patients experience an improved, healthier lifestyle. Call our office today to learn more and schedule your appointment.

Posted on November 11, 2022

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Dr. Iskandar, MD, FACS is a board-certified general surgeon with fellowship training in minimally invasive surgery and bariatric surgery. He is an accredited Surgeons of Excellence in Hernia Surgery by the SRC. The Iskandar Complex Hernia Center is one of only two North Texas Hernia Centers deemed Centers of Excellence. As a globally respected complex hernia expert, he specializes in complex hernia repair and abdominal reconstruction. He is also an Associate Professor of Surgery at Texas A&M School of Medicine.