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When Can I Have Sex After Hernia Surgery?

We get it—hernia surgery is no fun. But surgery is often the best way to fix the problem for good! Unfortunately, recovery may not seem quick, though. While everyone heals differently, certain activities are temporarily off the table.

Of course, you'll wonder when you can return to work, work out, and do other day-to-day stuff. But let's be honest - we know the intimate questions are on your mind, too. When can I have sex again? How do I ease back into it? Could getting intimate re-injure the delicate area?

It's awkward, but these worries are totally normal! Your love life is complicated enough without adding recovery rules to the mix. But have no fear - I'm here to tell you everything you need to know before getting intimate again after hernia surgery. 

So, without any further ado, let’s get into it!

Will Hernia Surgery Disrupt My Sex Life?

I know it is not the most comfortable topic! But clear information prevents worries and empowers you to bounce back better. This is even more important since Havard Medical School reported that 25% of men globally will experience inguinal hernia during their lifetime.

First, inguinal hernias in the groin/pelvic area are most likely to cause concerns for men. That region houses nerves and vessels essential for sexual function. When there's a hernia and surgical repair there, it's normal to stress about possible adverse effects downstairs.

While hernia surgery does involve some delicate work near critical structures, the good news is that there is minimal long-term sexual impact for most patients! Nerves are carefully preserved, and tissues are healed. Doctors utilize specialized techniques to safeguard sensation and function.

Still, utilizing surgical site muscles may initially be difficult or uncomfortable during intimacy. Soreness also temporarily challenges engaging relevant muscles. However, this impairment is short-lived. As post-operative swelling resolves and muscles heal, associated sexual difficulties dissipate, and normal function resumes.

The exact recovery duration varies from person to person. Deciding factors include hernia location, health status, surgery complexity, etc. But generally, take a minimum of 1 week off sex initially, as anesthesia causes fatigue anyway. Give your body proper rest! After that baseline time period, you can try resuming intimacy carefully. But stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort. That's a red flag, signaling that you still need more healing time.

Will I Get Erection After My Hernia Surgery?

It's understandable to be worried. Bruising, swelling, and discomfort around the genital region are common initially post-op. Fortunately, the risk of permanent injury to blood vessels, nerves, or reproductive structures remains extremely low.

Laparoscopic mesh repairs utilized for inguinal hernia surgeries are designed to safeguard and preserve function. So, your ability to get an erection should not be compromised long-term after proper healing occurs.

Remember that potential swelling and bruising are typically localized to inguinal hernia sites near the groin. Other hernia operations don't carry this same risk of temporarily impacting erections.

The key is being patient through the healing process. With time, swelling diminishes, and normal function steadily comes back online. 

Will Sex Be Painful After Hernia Repair?

Some tenderness is expected. But with the proper precautions, you can transition back to comfortable sex.

Incisions and mesh implants understandably cause some postsurgical soreness. Men may also experience genital swelling, decreasing desire initially.

Crucially, wait until your doctor gives the green light before attempting intercourse again. Also, choose sex positions that avoid abdominal pressure or irritation. Be ready to stop if you feel like you may pull on surgical sites or experience any amount of real pain. 

Regulating Sex Intensity After Hernia Surgery

Your surgeon will likely advise you to lay off anything too vigorous initially while you heal up. So, marathon sex sessions are off the table those first few weeks.

But when the green light does come for getting intimate again, be upfront with your partner. Share what activities you're comfortable trying or still nervous about. This lets him/her understand where you're at physically/mentally after the operation.

The key is not rushing back into your usual sexual routine until your body and mind feel prepared. There's no shame in needing to ease back into things or abstain from certain positions aggravating discomfort. So, communicate openly with your partner and avoid overdoing activities that could strain your surgery site.

Tips for An Injury-Free and Enjoyable Sex Post-Operation

Here are 5 tips for restoring comfortable, satisfying intimacy after hernia surgery:

  • Take things slowly at first rather than plunging into vigorous activity right away. Warm up gradually and stop if your body says not yet.
  • Use water-based lubricants to reduce friction and discomfort from penetration. 
  • Explore non-penetrative intimacy like massage, oral sex, or external toys like vibrators to stay connected without taxing the healing area.
  • Focus on relaxation, foreplay, and reconnecting rather than goal-driven acts. 
  • Check in with your partner frequently and keep lines of communication open about any discomfort/limitations. Your comfort comes first.

Final Words

Bottom line - hernia surgery may bring a temporary setback in your sex plans. However, it’s best to hold off for now till you are fully recovered. 

Recovery time varies depending on the procedure, your unique body, age, and other factors. However, doctors typically recommend waiting at least a week post-op, sometimes longer.

Recovery from hernia surgery is a marathon, not a sprint! Avoid anything that aggravates pain or swelling, even once the initial recovery period passes. But stay confident that with patience, your sex life will be firing on all cylinders once again before you know it!

Dr. Rockson Liu is One of the Best General and Hernia Surgeons in the United States

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“Dr. Rockson Liu performed colon surgery on me. I had full confidence in his skills and was very pleased with his performance. He explained thoroughly about using the robot in surgery as I was hesitant about its use. His bedisde manner is extraordinary and the way he cares for his patients is outstanding. He came to visit me on his day off in the hospital after surgery, as I was recovering. I was very pleased that I got such a skilled surgeon who is also a wonderful person.”

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Meet Dr. Rockson Liu, MD, FACS

The leading minimally-invasive, robotics-assisted general surgeon in the country

With 1000+ minimally-invasive, robotics-assisted surgeries completed, and a 100% success rate in ending recurrent hernias other surgeons were unable to solve, Dr. Liu has made a name for himself as the premier minimally-invasive general surgeon in the United States. 

Dr. Liu approaches every surgery with technical mastery and creative problem-solving. Those two skills allow for a faster recovery, minimal pain, and reduced scarring. 

About Dr. Liu

The leading minimally-invasive general and hernia repair surgeon on the West Coast, serving patients in the greater SF Bay Area. 

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