Sexual intercourse should be a comfortable and mutually desirable experience for both individuals involved. If you are experiencing pain during sex, also known as dyspareunia, the pain you feel could result in greater complications or emotional distress between you and your partner. There are several factors that cause women to experience pain during sex. Speak with your OBGYN to determine if one of the following conditions is present:
- Insufficient lubrication – This is often related to a woman feeling anxious during sex. By relaxing, lengthening foreplay, or utilizing a sexual lubricant, this issue can be resolved and comfort can be increased.
- Vaginismus – This is a condition caused by the involuntary squeezing of a woman’s vagina muscles during insertion. The sensation can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful. There are exercises that a woman can do to help reduce the occurrence of the muscle spasms within only a few weeks.
- Vaginitis – This term encompasses various conditions that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina, including vulvovaginitis. Often resulting from a vaginal infection caused by such factors as bacteria, yeast, or viruses, vaginal infections can result in pain during sex.
- Cervical infection – Sometimes during sex the penis can reach the cervix when at maximum penetration. If the cervix is infected, a woman can experience pain.
- Uterine Fibroids – These benign lumps grow on the uterus, and can cause pain during sex among other symptoms.
- Endometriosis – This condition is caused by the development of uterine-lining outside of the uterus and causes abdominal pain, including during sex, heavy periods, and infertility. Treatment options include pain relievers, hormones, and surgery.
- Ovarian cysts – These cysts are closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semisolid substance. Ovarian cysts cause abdominal pain as well as pain during intercourse.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – This disease occurs when tissues deep inside a woman’s pelvis become severely inflamed. The pressure of intercourse irritates the issue and causes deep pain.
- Ectopic pregnancy – An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg develops inside the fallopian tube, instead of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1 of every 50 pregnancies. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, sharp abdominal cramps, pain on one side of the body, and pain during sex.
- Menopause – During menopause, a woman’s vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and become dry, leading to pain during sex.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) – Pain during sex has been linked to such STDs as genital warts and herpes. If you are experiencing pain during sex, and think you may have an STD, speak with your OBGYN immediately.
- Injury to the vulva or vagina – An injury that causes pain during sex may include a tear from childbirth or an episiotomy. In addition, having sex too soon after surgery or childbirth may result in pain during intercourse.
Of course, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to discuss with your gynecologist. He/she can discuss ways to alleviate pain during intercourse. If you are looking for a new gynecologist and live in the Western New York area, please call our practice. We are accepting new patients.