Pain During Sexual Intercourse (Dyspareunia) Treatment

Sex is one of the greatest physical pleasures in life and when medical conditions occur that cause discomfort and pain, it can be a great concern. Dyspareunia is the term used to describe pain during sex, often recurring, in the genital or pelvic region. While this can happen to both genders, it is much more common in women. If you find that you are experiencing abnormal discomfort or pain before, during or after sexual intercourse, you’re not alone and dyspareunia is fairly common. We’ll discuss the possible causes and some treatment options so you can get back to experiencing pain-free sex once again. Living with vaginal pain during intercourse does not have to last.

What is Dyspareunia?

This term describes the sharp, sudden or intense pain that some individuals feel before, during or after sexual intercourse. It can be related to muscle tightness, vaginal dryness or other factors and the types of pains can be grouped into penetration or deep pain. There can be many reasons that lead to this condition, including:

• Vaginal atrophy caused by menopause, childbirth, medications, and any other cause of low estrogen
• Disorders of the skin that can cause ulcers, cracking, burning or itching
• Genital infections such as UTI’s or yeast infections
• Injuries or trauma – childbirth, episiotomy, hysterectomy, etc.
• Pain in the vulva region called vulvodynia
• Vaginitis
• Spontaneous tightening of the vaginal wall muscles called vaginismus
• Endometriosis
• Cystitis
• Uterine Fibroids
• IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
• Cancer treatments – radiation or chemotherapy

In addition to the physical conditions that can contribute to dyspareunia, there are also various reasons that can cause decreased sexual arousal or desire, which can cause painful sexual intercourse. These include:

• Physical response to stress, which can tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor
• Negative sex feelings such as shame, guilt or fear
• Body image concerns
• Medications like anti-depressants and birth control
• Relationship problems
• Medical conditions like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disease
• History of sexual abuse

Because dyspareunia is a broad term to describe the general pain or discomfort during sex, as you can see, there are a wide variety of potential causes. Depending on the actual symptoms experienced, your doctor can possibly narrow down the cause.

Symptoms of Dyspareunia

The pain associated with dyspareunia can range from mild discomfort to extremely sharp and painful, depending on the severity and person experiencing it. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important that you see your doctor to figure out the cause and address the issue. Here are some of the most common causes of pain that comes from dyspareunia:

• Bladder, urethra or vagina pain
• From penetration during sex
• Vaginal pain during sex
• Vaginal pain after sex
• Pain only with certain partners or circumstances
• Discomfort or pain with tampon use
• Burning pain during intercourse
• Sharp pains similar to menstrual cramps, often described as “stabbing”
• Deep, throbbing pain that lasts long after sexual intercourse

Treatment Options

Because there are so many possible causes for sex-related pain, finding the right solution can be difficult, especially if it is a result of multiple conditions. Some common solutions, depending on the cause, include:

• Changes in medication or dosage
• Physical therapy
• Surgery
• Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or supplementation
• Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants
• Kegel exercises
• Laser therapy

Laser therapy for painful intercourse treatment that is caused by low-estrogen levels brings proven long-term results. For women that suffer from pain when having sex caused by vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy – we offer the MonaLisa Touch. With MonaLisa Touch, women no longer have to deal with messy lubricants, hormone dosages, therapy, or surgery and can regain the pleasure of not having to deal with pain during sex. Feel free to give us a call and schedule your next appointment.

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Dr. Krinsky and his team have the compassionate bedside manner every patient deserves and is currently accepting new patients.

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