Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
This week I got to talk to Dr. Irwin Goldstein, the Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in California. Dr. Goldstein is conducting research into LEEP and how it effects women’s sexual function.
Dr. Goldstein is one of the few doctors trying to have an honest and open conversation about the nature of the cervix, and it’s role in sexual function. Many doctors are still not aware that there are 3 paired nerves in the cervix, and that it plays a role in orgasm. He says,
The current nightmare is a misrepresentation of the cervix as not being sexual. In our literature the cervix is quite sexual, and in fact it has tripe innervation. There are extremely few organs with triple innervation. The value of the cervix to homeo sapien existence which is based on survivability and reproduction is huge. Because with a malfunctioning cervix reproduction is severely impaired
I asked him about his research and he explains how his intention is to ensure women have informed choice about the procedure.
The removal of the opening of the cervix will result in injury to the sexual function of the organ. So when appropriately discussed with the patient, the patient can say, ‘’Um, I’m not ready to give up this quality of orgasm, maybe there’s other things we can do, or I’m not that interested in sex,.. I don’t want to have cancer. The unfortunate issue about Gynaecology is that the sexual consequences of operating in the vaginal area are not discussed…It’s an issue of informed consent. and being honest, that when you operate on the vagina, it’s a sexual organ…you may without explaining hurt sexuality. And it has to be the patient is involved in the decision making. Right now the patient is rarely involved in the decision making.
Before I had my LEEP I had little understanding of what my cervix actually was. I had never touched it before, or knew about how it functioned. I had no conscious awareness that it was involved in my orgasms but when my cervix became injured the intensity of my orgasms lessened.
We can have what are known as ‘blended’ orgasms, which may involve the clitoris, g-spot, and/or cervix all-together. Our society has focused mainly on the clitoral orgasm. The existence of the g-spot is often presented as a mystery and the possibility of cervical orgasms are rarely discussed in the mainstream.
Many women may have been like me, experiencing blended orgasms during sex, but without being aware that the pleasure came in part from the cervix.
As women, it’s so vital that we educate ourselves about our own sexual organs, before we decided to undergo a procedure like LEEP. Doctors may behave as if consenting to treatment is a ‘no-brainer’ but it’s important to remember we do have a choice.
Dr. Goldstein says,
if you’re trying to prevent a hysterectomy by doing the LEEP then that’s one thing. But a lot of women don’t have cervical cancer when they do the LEEP, they just have abnormal cells, and it seems like the risk benefit ratio is very very different from women that physically have cancer, than women who have abnormal cells that may not have cancer.
If you are suffering from sexual side effects from the LEEP then you can contact me or Dr. Irwin Goldstein directly and be part of his research project. Together we can ensure that in the future women, are aware of the risks, and are empowered to make an informed choice.