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Will I ever have pain-free sex after episiotomy?

(35 Posts)
Blondie87 Wed 15-Jul-15 13:52:36

I feel bad worrying about this when I have a gorgeous child to be grateful for but I'd also now like my sex life back too! I had my lovely baby 10 weeks ago and had a vaginal delivery which required an episiotomy. It's taken a while to heal as my external stitches came open and I got an infection even though I was fastidious with hygiene. The site is just about feeling ok now even though there is still some raised scar tissue.
My husband has been very patiently waiting for us to resume sex and last night we decided to try it. I'm still self conscious about 'down there' since giving birth so there wasn't much foreplay. We used KY jelly but didn't get very far- sorry for TMI but only got a bit inside before I made him stop. I felt really upset afterwards- how will we ever resume having sex without a vicious cycling of me being scared of the pain so I can't relax, therefore exacerbating the situation? Giving up sex in my late 20sdoesnt feel like a solution! Any advice, bearing in mind we have a small baby?

crappyday Wed 15-Jul-15 13:55:39

2 main things- after epiosioromy & infection 10 weeks is quite soon
And if things don't get better, go to doc. My sister had to have a small op. as they'd stitched her to tightly and sex was impossible.

It might take time.

Mumteedum Wed 15-Jul-15 14:00:10

Took a lot longer than 10 weeks for me and I ended up having laser treatment via hospital physio on scar tissue. It helped. Hope dh is understanding. Try not to pressurise self.

You'll get back to a sex life. Just takes bit of time.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 15-Jul-15 14:04:17

Good news - there are things that can be done, even in quite severe cases, which yours doesn't sound like IYSWIM.

I had cortisone injections to help heal painful raised scar tissue - it was a fantastic solution for me, and our got our sex life completely back on track. It does involve pushing for treatment (I found that there was a lot of fobbing off of these sorts of issues) and the injections into the perineum weren't fun! Well worth it though.

For an easier option, there are dilators (medical dildos, basically). They start off small and get bigger as the tissue stretches. You can massage the scar with them to help break it down and ease any tightness. I tried them and found that they were helpful, but not a complete solution for me. Your problem might be more easily solved though, as I had a wopper of a scar.

I did find that the medical profession had a tendency to "prescribe" sex as a solution, which I guess would do the same thing as the dilators - stretch and massage the scar. That was not an option for me though - the thought of having to endure weeks of painful sex wasn't something that would have done our marriage any good at all, and is part of the misogynistic attitude of the medical profession to a woman's sex life IMO. I can't imagine that it would have done DH much good either - it's not exactly a turn-on to be making love to someone who is gritting their teeth in agony, is it?

mmollytoots Wed 15-Jul-15 14:07:09

I only had second degree tear.

My baby is 10 months now and it feels much better now. we just kept having sex and grit through the pain or got drunk and done it until I felt ok

newstart15 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:07:16

Definitely see a Dr as I was similar and when the baby was 6 months I had corrective surgery, very quick and completely fixed the problem.I think it's more common than its discussed.I was worried about the 2nd child but despite a difficult birth (very large baby) it was all fine and I had no problems 2nd time around.

It's hard to determine if its just healing so needs more time or will need corrective action but don't feel you have to wait too long as there maybe a waiting list.

starsinyourpies Wed 15-Jul-15 14:19:21

Took about 6 months for me, just needed to heal more I think.

measles64 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:22:41

I wish I had known about this I had episiotomy and 54 stitches. Sex was not painless until I had second child and they rectified the problem. Go for the surgery if it does not ease off.

Blondie87 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:24:32

Thank you for your experiences/advice. I'm not sure if I need more time to heal or whether to go through the pain to stretch it back to normal!! I thought childbirth made you looser not tighter.
Mrstittlemouse I agree- very patriarchal approach to women and their sexuality. No real empathy towards the fact that sex is an important part of loving, happy marriage.

Blazing88 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:28:07

It needs a lot more time to heal.

I had a 'generous' episiotomy and bowel damage in the process. We only managed sex twice after the birth of our daughter and the second time we conceived child no 2! No more sex then at all all the way through that pregnancy! Sorry. Probably not what you want to hear.

I'm 2.5 years down the line now and everything feels normal. So in answer to your question, yes, it will get better!

BoutrosBoutros Wed 15-Jul-15 14:36:40

Agree with everyone else - you need to give it more time. I had a bad 2nd degree tear and after 7 months went to the doctors for a referral to gynae. I was actually booked in for an op 11 months after birth when suddenly things improved dramatically on their own and I was able to cancel the op and have lots of sex to conceive #2!

Sorry it's painful and I agree it should be taken seriously but with a bit of luck things will sort themselves out for you in the not too distant future.

Minithemoocher Wed 15-Jul-15 14:39:56

It's taken 10 months for me to be pain free during sex after my 3rd degree tear. A referral to the woman's physio team helped a lot.

Blondie87 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:46:41

Really appreciate all your advice and taking the time to rep,y. Is it ok to attempt sex or will it cause more damage?

yougotafriend Wed 15-Jul-15 14:48:12

God I wish I knew about all those options 18yrs ago... Anyone touching my scar tissue still makes me feel a bit "icky" which is difficult cos it's not like it's very visible to be seen & avoided. And I've never felt like I was stitched up right.

I guess it's too late now to go back to GP

cjt110 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:55:02

Blondie Yes you will in answer to your question. I had an episiotomy and forceps along with an 8lb 11 baby. I found pain extremely painful when we first got back on track, to the point it would bring tears to my eyes just in initial stages. I would say now, 11m on, we can finally have sex without pain.

I didnt have any referrals anywhere but just made my DH aware of my pain and to be careful. We used lube too - lots of it - and patience.

wallypops Wed 15-Jul-15 15:10:00

Yes you will, but it takes months or years to stop hurting to be honest. Obviously the pain gets much less as time goes on, and it's never been painful enough for me to not want sex at all. Make sure you are very well lubricated (naturally or otherwise).

pocketsaviour Wed 15-Jul-15 15:40:01

I can't speak from experience with an episiotomy, but sex doesn't have to be just P in V - you can regain that sense of intimacy through oral and mutual masturbation for now, and put PiV back on the menu once you've had a bit more healing time smile

Longtalljosie Wed 15-Jul-15 15:43:43

I would go back to your doctor in case there's an adhesion (the skin has stuck together where it shouldn't have)

Dworkin9to5 Wed 15-Jul-15 16:16:59

No-one should have to grit their teeth or get drunk to be able to cope with painful sex, and no decent man would ever expect that of a partner. No-one is owed sex by anyone else.

OP, 10weeks after an epi is very soon. If you had all the muscles surgically cut in your calf, no-one would be expecting you to be walking normally (or at all) after just 10 weeks. Think of it that way. Give it time, don't feel any pressure, from yourself or him (any pressure for sex should be game over anyway), if you feel horny, try stuff that's not PIV, and you'll get there, I promise you. There are more important things to be worrying about at 10weeks post-partum than sex.

Jeezimacasalinga Wed 15-Jul-15 17:11:01

I had an epi with my first baby, and like someone upthread, ended up having cortisone injections about a year after giving birth - they really helped. I'd echo everyone else and say that 10 weeks is really no time at all - give yourself some more time, and see your GP. They can check it out, and refer you on if there's an issue (that was my experience). I ended up with 3 kids, so it honestly does get better!

Custardmiteofglut Wed 15-Jul-15 18:03:22

I had a small episiotomy and we didn't try for at least 3 months. When we did it was tender for a while, somewhat of a "grit your teeth" job, but it did get better.

Give yourself some time to heal. It will get better and in the grand scheme of your marriage (assuming it's for life) a few months to wait isn't a huge deal. Especially when you're knackered with a small baby smile

ApplesTheHare Wed 15-Jul-15 18:22:27

Like everyone else has said, 10 weeks is no time at all!

I had a small tear 10 months ago having DD and have just been to the doctor about it last month as the scar still hurts during sex. The (lovely) GP I saw prescribed time - skin heals superficially fairly fast, but it can take over a year for the nerves in the skin to heal - and said it's very very common. She said that being afraid of pain causes more pain in itself so did advise wine to relax, but also prescribed a gentle local anaesthetic cream to use to have sex and it's worked a treat. Having sex has in itself helped to stretch everything out as well, if you see what I mean. God childbirth is glamorous... grin

WorzelsCornyBrows Wed 15-Jul-15 18:35:09

I had exactly the same issues as you and it took a lot of months to get back to normal, tho after a while much of it was nerves on both our parts.

Don't grit your teeth through it, would your DH really enjoy having PIV sex with you if it hurts? Build up to it slowly, intimacy doesn't have to start and end with PIV sex.

WorzelsCornyBrows Wed 15-Jul-15 18:35:34

*though ! blush

EssexMummy123 Wed 15-Jul-15 18:42:47

I had a similar issue and was referred to a gynae who told me that the episiotomy scar tissue wasn't bad enough for them to redo it - however what they didn't spot was a problem with my pelvis - when I had that treated the pain vanished.

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