Painful sex, also known as dyspareunia, is an issue that affects around 10% to 20% of women in the US. This condition may leave some people feeling embarrassed, upset, or ashamed.
While it is normal to have anxieties over such an intimate part of your life, in most cases, Painful sex can be solved through treatment.
With both physical and emotional factors at play, Painful sex issues should be identified and assessed by a specialist, so that you can get the help you need and resume comfortable and pleasurable intimacy.
With Painful sex, it is important to be able to locate and describe the pain you are facing. Different types of pain can be associated with different underlying issues. Assess whether the pain is superficial or deep, if pain during sex is a new occurrence, if inserting a tampon hurts, and how the pain feels in general.
Once you have identified the pain, seek your doctor’s help to pinpoint the causes and potential treatments and solutions.
Painful sex can be caused by various factors, both physical and emotional.
Superficial Dyspareunia, also known as Pain on penetration is pain experienced upon vaginal entry and can be caused by:
- Too little lubrication from menopause and thinning of the walls of the vagina
- Injury, infection, irritation
- Vaginismus: spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall, making penetration extremely painful
- Vestibulitis: inflammation of the tissues surrounding the entrance to the vagina which can cause intense pain, stinging, and soreness when pressure is applied
- Birth abnormalities
Deep Dyspareunia, also known as deep pain is experienced after initial penetration. It can feel worse upon thrusting or in certain sexual positions, and can be caused by:
- Endometriosis: when developed behind the vagina or the lower uterus
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: caused by sexually transmitted infections
- Fibroids: benign growths on the walls of the uterus
- Adhesions: when organs in the pelvic area are scarred and stuck together
- Prolapse: when the uterus drops into the vagina due to pelvic floor weakness
To identify and asses your condition, the doctor will ask for details and information on your experience with painful sex, including history, occurrences, and type of pain. Your doctor may also perform a pelvic examination and order tests such as labs and an ultrasound.