How long after an episiotomy did sex stop being painful?

(43 Posts)
FeelingFrigid Thu 06-Oct-11 13:46:26

During the delivery of my daughter, who is now 4 months old, I was given an episiotomy. Everything seemed fine at the time. The midwife and ob/gyn who checked it both said it was very neat and healing well etc... and most of the time I'm not even aware of having had it. That is except for when me and my husband try to have sex... sigh.
We've tried twice over the last month and both times it has hurt so that we had to stop. I had no idea that it would hurt like that - is this normal? How long has it taken for other people to find sex ok again? I know it's not a matter of lubrication blush

My husband is a patient man - but I feel that he doesn't really understand (how can he?) how I feel. I think he thinks that if we keep trying it will somehow stretch/ease things in that area (ouch...). Since giving birth my body feels like a bombsite and I find it difficult to allow him to cosy up to me anyway as I don't like being touched (was not a problem before childbirth). Now that I've tried and found having sex so painful this has just made my feelings about my body (and difficulty in recognising it as being me/my own) worse. Sigh.
Please tell me that this'll get better?

N3WM0M Tue 13-Jan-15 18:27:09

Forceps and episiotomy, also slight tearing on the vaginal wall, to bring our angel into this world.

Our first attempt at intercourse 8 weeks postpartum only caused me to tear (not badly, but it was painful and instead of stopping we decided to push through -- no pun intended blush).

I called the nurse practitioner and she has instructed me to take a soaks bath 3-4 times a day (one in which the water is actively flowing -- leave the drain open and the water on // or use a jetted tub). She said adding Epsom salts would also be helpful. I probably have to wait a week or more before we attempt intercourse again.

The following essential oil, witch hazel and aloe vera blend has also provided topical relief wellnessmama.com/3213/postpartum-spray/.

It sounds like there are a lot of options from the previous posts -- creams, surgeries, exercises/stretches, but that for the most part it just takes time and practice to get comfortable again.

Thank you for sharing your experiences! It's nice to know we're not alone in our struggle.

MuscatBouschet Sat 10-Jan-15 20:22:33

I wish they would warn you that 6 months healing is pretty common for an episiotomy. I also got very stressed that we had to try before my 6 week check. My scar tore slightly during my second delivery. No stitches second time and it feels like the tearing actually fixed it and made it more comfortable.

L666BEX Sat 10-Jan-15 20:11:28

Well i got a referral to a gynaecologist! so I'm pleased about that just have to wait now for appointment and to see if they find anything wrong.

bambinibop Sun 04-Jan-15 22:34:04

Hi. My dd is 10 months old and sex has only just started being fine again. It improved the more we did it! I kept putting it off for a while because it hurt and I was worried about it. I wish now I'd just gone to the doctors to check then I would have relaxed and it would have got better quicker probably

I'm trying to say it's probably all fine and normal but best to check it out

L666BEX Sun 04-Jan-15 22:30:19

Dlk84 Thanks for the info. I don't think it's muscular with me. When we have had sex/attempted/had my smear, it makes me sore and red exactly where the top of the scar is, stays sore for several days. Just have to see what my doc says and hope i don't get fobbed off!!

LetticeKnollys Sun 04-Jan-15 15:48:55

Whoops, I see this thread has been resurrected several times and is quite old now! Glad you found something that helped, anyway, OP.

LetticeKnollys Sun 04-Jan-15 15:38:25

I had quite a large episiotomy 3 months ago, it stretched right out into my inside leg/buttock tissue IYSWIM. I left it until about 10 weeks or so before I had sex, just because I wasn't in the mood until then really, and there wasn't any pain. Definitely see a doctor!

dlk84 Sun 04-Jan-15 15:31:05

I had a large episiotomy for forceps delivery. It then got infected and broke down so was left to heal on its own. I am now 4 1/2 months post delivery, tried sex a few times but only very recently with any success - still uncomfortable but not painful. I have been seeing a women's health physio to help my pelvic floor as the side I had the episiotomy the muscles have totally atrophied (probably due to nerve damage) and the opposite side the muscles are painful because they are in spasm trying to compensate for the weakened side. Hope that all makes sense! What I'm trying to get at is that it is really important to work on your pelvic floor muscles to help everything heal and settle down. It often feels like it's the scar that's hurting but in actual fact it's the internal muscles.
1 tip which can really help is massage.......use natural olive oil and massage the scar every day and massage the "entrance" also, helps to soften everything up and has made a huge difference to me in 4 weeks.
If you are trying sex then definitely go on top to start with and make your partner stay as still as possible and then you are in total control and you can relax more.
If you really are having lots of problems then definitely see gynaecologist and physio (physio has been invaluable to me)
Good luck everyone! Xx

berrypicking Sun 04-Jan-15 14:22:57

took about 8 weeks before it was OK and I would say a good 8 months before it became totally comfortable and normal again.

L666BEX Sun 04-Jan-15 13:48:57

I'm 9 months post-partum. I had an episiotomy but went to theatre for stitches as they thought I'd torn 3rd degree. Not as bad as they thought and classified it as a 2nd. Husband and i managed sex only twice in this time, approx last July! Was painful whole time. We've tried a few times since but now i can't even bear it going in, hurts too much right at the top of the scar. When we did manage and when i had a smear recently, each time the top of scar looks like a paper cut and is tender. 2 docs have looked and said they see nothing wrong. But a nurse who did treatment on my cervix said I've possibly been joined a bit high. Hoping to see my doctor this week who has never examined me but I'm so scared she'll say nothing they can do. Really getting me down!

Deerhound Thu 01-Jan-15 09:16:10

Oh crikey, ig82. No good advice I'm afraid but didn't want to read and run. I would suggest counselling /relate as well as seeing a medical doctor.. It sounds like she's traumatised by the whole thing (and quite possibly terrified if getting pregnant again?). How to have the conversion.. I guess accompanied by lots of hugs and reassurances that you love her and that it is as much about her happiness as your "needs". Really hope that helps (or that someone else has some better advice!). Good luck!

lg82 Wed 31-Dec-14 20:31:49

I'm a father also in "coffee's" position. My wife had a tough delivery with our first and a severe tear. Her stitches came loose and had to be redone... which loosened again but she somewhat healed. We tried sex after about 6 months, and we were pregnant again. She was mostly uncomfortable and we stopped trying during the second pregnancy. The second delivery came on so fast, I ended up delivering our daughter at home, during which my wife again tore relatively severely. She was stitched at the hospital and again they loosened. She went back to have non-dissolveable stitches put in that the doctor thought would prevent the loosening. They did loosen but not as bad as before. She had them later removed once "healed"and that was about 3 years ago. We've tried only about twice since then and got no where fast. It's painful, she's very tense, and it's a debilitating emotional experience for her. Understandably so, she has no desire to be looked at down there let alone touched or examined. I've not pressured her to go see a Dr. but know that she needs to... she knows this as well. It's taken a toll on our relationship to say the least but she can't conquer her fear of getting help as we can only imagine it will require surgery to fix and she's terrified it will make it worse. We both feel defeated by this. Her reasons are obvious, and I don't know how to support her as i don't want to make her feel pressured as I can only empathize with her. Suggestions on how to have this conversation would be appreciated.

atrcts Sun 31-Mar-13 08:55:02

My episiotomy scar didn't heal well so at my routine 6-8 week GP follow-up after giving birth, she noticed that I needed cautery to the wound so it could heal properly. I had wondered why it still stung when I peed!

About a week or so after cauterisation we started having sex again and I was nervous so hubby was patient and gentle, but it was absolutely normal and fine.

I had a friend who had been stitched up too tightly and had to have a scar revision to stitch it together with more room, which made a difference afterwards for her apparently.

What I'm saying is there is bound to be something that can be done if thays what you need, and if enough people report to you that they were lucky enough to be ok with a normal episiotomy scar healing, then it might help give you a clue as to what's going on with you. I would second going to your GP though, ad my midwife regularly checked my episiotomy scat and never noticed it needed cautery to it!

NicolaSeal Sat 30-Mar-13 19:14:20

I had forceps and an episiotomy, and it took about 10 months for the stingy feeling to go away completely.

zionsmith Sat 30-Mar-13 05:19:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

FeelingFrigid Mon 28-Jan-13 17:25:50

I know this thread is ages old, but just wanted to say that what helped me the most was a cream that the Dr suggested with lidocaine in it which is meant to be applied when you have tooth ache! Nearly DIED of embarrassment when the pharmacist asked what I wanted it for (there was a huge queue behind me). Anyway, it made such a difference as it helped me to relax. It didn't take long after getting the cream before I found that I didn't actually need it anymore. I can't remember now when this was exactly, but IIRC it was under a year post childbirth.

Sorry to hear about the problems that other folks have been having - I hope that BoyMeetsWorld and the gentleman who's wife has had problems, have managed to get help.

GobblersKnob Tue 17-Jul-12 08:43:58

6 months before it was comfortable but tbh 4 and a half years later it still hurts in some positions.

BoyMeetsWorld Tue 17-Jul-12 08:40:43

This still blights my relationship 3 years after birth of DS sad episiotomy & rough forceps delivery = ow!!!! Don't get me wrong, it has got slowly better. But can't even be touched umm down there blush without half a tube of KY or the damage is just not worth it. Positioning slightly wrong or over enthusiastic & the episiotomy just completely re-rips. & yep, that's 3 years down the line. I'm terrified about trying for no2 soon - if they don't give me a C Section (which scares me in itself!!!!) My sexlife's going to be a write-off. Would be v interested to hear comments from anyone who's had the earlier mentioned procedure (Fenton's something or other) for scar tissue build up, if this worked & how you persuaded your GP as mine just aren't interested....

It was about eight months for me, I was breastfeeding as well. With me, I wasn't getting enough lubrication down there due to the lack of estrogen. They gave me some pesseries (spelling??) and it seemed to sort it out.

MammaTonic Tue 10-Jul-12 16:25:40

You poor thing, please do try not to worry - although I know it's difficult because you are always told that after 6 weeks, everything will be back to normal. Far from the truth!

I had an episiotomy and ventouse delivery in February 2009. All completely routine, no infections, no issues. I had pushed for 2 hours before the epi+ventouse, so was swollen and sore before.

DH and I tried to have sex about 8 weeks later but it was impossible as it was so painful. Tried again about one month later but still the pain was unbearable. I got really worried; thought I'd got some deep tissue damage or had been stitched too tight or something. I went to see my GP who said that the tissues may not have been sewn too tightly, but that he healing process gives a 'tight' sensation (yeah, and the rest!) and that they needed to be 'stretched' again (i.e. through sex). Penatrive sex was too painful for months, so you have to be imaginative 1) to stop you tensing up 2) to take the focus away from full sex. You won't be doing it on purpose, bu I bet youre tensing up (vaginismus). By now, I bet you're anticipating pain, which makes you involuntarily tense up, which makes the whole thug much
worse and much more uncomfortable. The following helped me to relax:

• Be intimate whilst knowing that you're not going
to have sex. Let him kiss you and touch you where you like, but no sex. Do this as often as you need before you're ready to move on

• When you want to move to the next stage, touch yourself before allowing him to touch you. Don't hesitate in telling him to be gentle; to touch you more slowly/lightly, whatever.

• When you're ready to try proper sex, use lots of lube. Ann Summers do very nice ones; much less sticky than KY or the Durex ones. When you/he/sex toys go near you, use lube!!

• Try to relax. I would have a glass or two of wine.

• Position is important. Your man sounds nice so he could be on top. If you want more control, you could go on top. Spoons is very gentle on the post-partum body. Nothing too funky at the moment.

FWIW, it took 7 months before sex felt normal again. We were able to have sex again between 16-20 weeks after delivery, but it was uncomfortable until the 7th month. And it got less painful each time smile

And we had another baby in April this year so things do get better. Best of luck!! xx

coffeenomilknosugar Mon 09-Jul-12 22:16:47

i know it's an old thread but wanted to thank the moms here.. I'm a father (well the logo says parents..) and my wife is 3.5 years after episiotomy. we still have no sex life as it really hurts every time we tried (we tried about 3 times a year). thanks to this thread i manage to convince my wife to get checked and ill buy her a vibrator so she can check on her own if she is ready.
yes, it is a very depressing situation for us and it created a huge physical and emotional distance between us but im still hoping that it can be recovered. so thanks again everyone.

FeelingFrigid Sat 12-Nov-11 12:04:06

Just to update in case this is useful for anyone else: it's now 5 1/2 months since my daughter was born and things are slowly getting better. Each time we have sex things seem a bit less uncomfortable/sore - so I think it must just take a while to heal fully. Saying that we've only had sex 4 times in total(!) but each time is definitely getting better - although not completely pain free yet. The first two times were definitely the worst, but the next two much better.

QuietNinjaZombie Thu 27-Oct-11 07:19:14

We didn't have sex for months after ds was born! Forget putting pressuron yourself. You have to feel comfortable and if it takes a bit longer for that to happen then so be it. If the pain continues go to gp. I had continuous pain for 3 months after birth even though everything healed up nicely somwSnt even a consideration til that went away.

FeelingFrigid Tue 25-Oct-11 20:40:28

Thanks hugely for all your comments and suggestions. It has really helped as, ignoring the pain, I think I was also putting pressure on myself that I should be having sex again by now. I'll certainly get things checked if the pain continues... haven't tried recently to know. Why oh why is there such an emphasis on having sex after 6 weeks? and why is there so little info on how you feel about sex (or how sex feels/potential problems) after having a baby? After all you can barely move for articles on improving your sex life pre-preg in most womens' magazines. hmm

goodnightmoon Wed 19-Oct-11 13:04:17

do see your GP. I was referred to have a "modified Fentons procedure" at 6 months and that sorted things out perfectly. Sex simply was not possible until after the procedure (which i think basically consists of cutting away built-up scar tissue.) It is day surgery under GA but recovery was quite fast as I recall.

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