How long after an episiotomy did sex stop being painful?

(31 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?

EMS23 Thu 06-Oct-11 13:58:15

Please go and see your doctor and ask for a referral to a Gynacological (sp?) Physio. If you have private medical insurance, your local private hospital probably has one on staff.
I went to see my doctor after 9 months (epsiotomy and forceps delivery) as I found it painful to use Tampax. I thought that was a relatively minor inconvienience so didn't think it worth mentioning. I only told the doctor during the course of an appointment for something else.
It turned out I have a vaginal wall injury and treatment is underway. You don't have to live in pain and not enjoy your sex life. Help is available.
Good luck xxx

nunnie Thu 06-Oct-11 14:00:00

Can't help sorry just didn't want to read and run. I am also interested in any answers you get to this. I am 4 weeks post so haven't and don't intend to for a number of weeks yet, but I was just going to buy lube and hope for the best.
Could you just be tense due to your feelings about your body? Which by the way I think is pretty normal (well it has been for me on all three of my children).

Jojay Thu 06-Oct-11 14:00:59

I think you need to see a doctor. I've had an episiotomy, and a 2nd degree tear, and sex was fine after 6-8 wks or so in both instances.

Make an appt with your gp.

So sorry you're having to deal with this.

nunnie Thu 06-Oct-11 14:01:13

X-post sorry.

FeelingFrigid Thu 06-Oct-11 14:10:59

Thanks so much for your comments. I had been wondering how long was reasonable to expect it to take it to heal... sounds like maybe I should think about getting it checked... had been avoiding thinking about it for that reason. After all the poking about down there during preg/birth etc I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of having an IUD fitted - ended up choosing the pill purely as I couldn't face the thought of more invasive procedures.
Maybe I'll give it a few more weeks? <avoidance tactics fully operational>

Secondtimelucky Thu 06-Oct-11 14:53:47

You definitely, definitely need to get this checked out. However, just to share far too much information, things were uncomfortable for me for about 4-6 months, and it took about 9 to be back to normal. The recovery from a 2nd degree tear (along the old scar line) with DD2 was much quicker.

So it might not mean that there's a problem, but for your peace of mind do check.

Metalhead Thu 06-Oct-11 20:51:05

Took about 6 months for me.

ZuleikaJambiere Thu 06-Oct-11 22:14:22

Congratulations on your little one

I'd agree with nunnie, that it could be that you're tense. DH and I tried and failed to have sex from 4 months and didn't succeed until 8 months. I had a 2nd degree tear and was very scared about tearing again (not sure why - DH is NOT the same size as a baby grin), and it took a couple of months to get past this fear. I also think that DD sleeping through and me stopping BF (both of which happened around the 8 month mark) had something to do with it - feeling human and getting my body back, meant at last my libido over rode my concerns. BTW DD is almost 3 and a still use lube

For now, I'd say just aim for closeness (time for each other, cuddles, being affectionate) and the rest will follow

griphook Thu 06-Oct-11 23:49:34

way too much info in this post alert but...

didn't even attempt sex untill 6 months as I was terrified it was going to hurt, (bad 2nd degree tear) which makes you tense and then hurt more, so I brought a small virbrator to use on my own first to see if it hurt, iyswim, and it was fine so i felt able to have sex. it sort of built my confidence that it wasn't going to hurt.

PrincessScrumpy Fri 07-Oct-11 14:15:06

It took until 10months for sex to be good again. DH was so patient with me and I found a glass of wine helped too (gp suggested it) as I was so worried I was tensing up everytime we tried which made the pain worse. I also was on the pill, one month I had a tummy bug so didn't bother taking the pill as it seemed pointless - my sex drive came back and natural lubrication (sorry for tmi) improved vastly. I haven't taken the pill since.

Withwoman Mon 10-Oct-11 15:11:12

Be on top so that you have the control over what is happening. The vibrator tip is good too.

fallingandlaughing Tue 11-Oct-11 10:52:07

I had a forceps delivery with episiotomy, the wound became infected. First attempted sex 6 weeks after delivery, it was quite uncomfortable. Since then it has been fine after the first few seconds... though we rarely get the chance! DD is 13 weeks.

why5am Thu 13-Oct-11 13:43:45

Also had forceps and episiotomy with DD1. I think the advice to see someone is good. I didn't - sex caused me pain for about 8 months afterwards (v patient DH) and didn't get back to normal until 1 year post partum. DD is now 2.5 and am 40 weeks with no 2.

Vaginal wall injury makes sense, as sex in missionary was the most uncomfortable. Looking back, I can't think why I didn't get it checked out... good luck.

whackamole Sat 15-Oct-11 15:22:02

I would get it checked, it can't hurt can it?

I didn't have an episiotomy, the most I had was an internal graze but it was painful during sex. We tried at about 10 weeks, it wasn't comfortable and didn't try again until about 4 months. I saw my GP who had a feel around, she said it was normal.

Of course this could be different, but mine was very minor and still hurt for a long time.

Allboxedin Sat 15-Oct-11 18:06:43

I think (can't remember too well) that we tried it at about 3 months after and it really hurt the first time. the second time was a bit better and then after that it seemed a lot better. You will feel tense too like the others said which won't help.

ohbabybaby Tue 18-Oct-11 09:50:04

When DS1 was 5 months it was still too painful. Went to the doctors who checked it was all OK (just a little pink still), and she gave me some local anaesthetic cream to use when we have sex - and it was wonderful, mostly because it took away the fear (and because I think we needed some lubrication). If there is nothing physically wrong then I really recommend asking for that cream.

With DS2 I didn't have an episiotomy (yay!) just a 2nd degree tear and we managed it at 8w (again with that cream as I still have it), now 4m and it is OK without the cream.

ohbabybaby Tue 18-Oct-11 09:50:58

PS I should have named DS2 after that cream.....

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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....

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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