Pain During Sex

When sexual intercourse becomes painful for a woman, also referred to in the medical community as dyspareunia, it can cause significant stress for the woman and problems in her and her partner's sexual relationship.

If sex is painful for you, the good news is that there's no need to suffer in silence. You have a legitimate medical condition and there are treatments available to help you enjoy sex again.

The Causes of Painful Sex

The first step to getting treatment is to discover the cause of the painful sex. This varies from woman to woman and can only be properly diagnosed by a physician. Here is a brief look at some of the possible causes.

· Endometriosis. This is a female reproductive medical problem where the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. Sometimes the endometrium can grow all over the internal pelvic organs including the ovaries and fallopian tubes which can cause pain during penetration.

· Penetration too soon after childbirth or surgery. Sex can be painful if intercourse is practiced before the vagina and cervix have had a chance to fully heal after trauma.

· Vaginal infections. These are common and generally affect the bacteria and yeast growth inside the vagina. They can cause dryness and irritation which can make sex painful.

· Ovary problems. This is a general cause and can include a variety of problems with the ovaries including misshapen ones or ovarian cysts.

· Vaginismus. This is a common condition where the muscles in the vagina spasm. This tightening can be so strong that penetration is impossible. Or it can make the opening of the vagina so tight that penetration is painful if it's possible. The underlying cause of vaginismus in usually psychological where the woman fears being hurt.

· Ectopic pregnancy. This is a pregnancy where the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. This can cause sensitivity to penetration which can make sex painful.

· Sexually transmitted diseases. Any type of STD can cause painful sex. Examples include herpes sores, genital warts or PID.

· Problems with the cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus. During maximum penetration, the penis can reach the cervix. An infected cervix will make sex painful during the deepest penetration.

· Injury to the vagina or vulva. These injuries are often related to childbirth and can include a not fully healed episiotomy or tears during labor.

· Menopause. It's common for the vaginal lining to become dry during menopause creating insufficient lubrication for penetration.

· Problems with the uterus. Growths on the wall of the uterus, called fibroids, can cause pain during deep penetration. These growths can also appear on the inside of the cervix.

What You Can Do About It

The most pressing concern on a lot of women's minds after they find out the cause of the painful sex they experience is how they can fix it.

Sometimes medical intervention isn't even necessary to correct the problem.

In the case of childbirth, for example, simply waiting at least six weeks after having the baby may help with painful intercourse. Gentleness may be necessary. It may also be necessary for you to use water-based lubricants if you find that your vagina is dry.

Chronic vaginal dryness may require medical help. It's common for women in menopause to experience this. Estrogen creams or other prescription medications may be provided.

After a thorough examination, your health care professional may be unable to find an underlying medical cause for the painful sex. If this is the case, sexual therapy can be helpful. Sexual therapy can help by helping you resolve any issues you have about feelings of guilt or disgust regarding sex. Sexual therapy can also help a woman deal with feelings of past abuse which can cause vaginismus which can make sex painful.


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