Are you experiencing pain before, during, and after you have sex? The medical term is dyspareunia. The cause may be due to a variety of physical and/or emotional factors, and the treatment depends on the specific underlying cause.
According to the esteemed Mayo Clinic, symptoms of dyspareunia include
- Pain during penetration only
- Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon
- Deep pain during thrusting
- Burning pain or aching pain
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
Please note: Dyspareunia is a collective term for pain during sex, which can be due to one of the following conditions:
- Vaginismus: A condition that causes the vaginal muscles to go into spasm when something enters such as a penis or tampon. The pain can range mild to severe.
- Endometriosis: A condition caused when uterus tissue grows outside of the womb.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection of the uterus, ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes. It’s typically caused by an STI.
- STIs: Sexually transmitted diseases are contracted through unsafe sex. In this case, genital warts and herpes are most likely the reason for the pain.
- Menopause: The natural process that women go through as they become older; it signals the end of their childbearing years. One of the symptoms is insufficient vaginal lubrication (dryness).
- Vulvodynia: This is a condition that refers to chronic pain to a women’s vulva (which includes the labia, clitoris and vaginal opening). The exact cause is currently unknown.
These are only a few of the most likely physical conditions that cause pain during sex. Emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, as well as a history of sexual abuse, can trigger symptoms.
A doctor will perform a thorough medical evaluation which usually includes
- A meticulous medical history
- A pelvic exam
- Pelvic ultrasound
Treatment depends on what’s causing the pain.
If an infection or medical condition causes the pain, the proper medicines will be prescribed by the doctor and should fix the problem, which in turn, should eliminate pain during sex. Please make sure you tell the doctor about any medication you may be taking currently; also, ask about any potential side effects.
As mentioned earlier, numerous emotional factors can contribute to painful sex. If it’s affecting your sex life, you and your partner should consider speaking to a certified sexual therapist. He/she can help you work through any issues you may have.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes is the global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Our Women’s Wellness services include HIV and AIDS testing (as well as other STIs). Should you have an unexpected pregnancy and wish to terminate, we also offer safe abortion services performed by medical professionals in a safe, sterile facility.