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“I had painful sex last night. What should I do about it?”

Reasons for Painful Sex in Women (Dyspareunia)

Monica was feeling depressed as she had experienced painful sex, yet again. She visited her gynaecologist regarding this. Here’s what her gynaecologist told her.

"A woman can experience painful sexual intercourse, medically known as Dyspareunia, [pronounced as dis-puh-roo-nee-uh] due to various reasons. It is known that a woman experiences pain the first time she has sex. Painful intercourse is not uncommon. Some women deal with the pain long term, while some such as you consult a doctor immediately. A woman can continue to feel throbbing/burning pain after intercourse. While painful intercourse can impact your relationship with your partner physically and emotionally, it’s nothing you need to be ashamed of/embarrassed about.

Let’s now understand what causes painful sex/dyspareunia.

A woman can experience pain during sex due to physical issues, emotional issues, and gynaecological conditions.

Shyness, not being in the mood for sex, embarrassment, and sexual anxiety can get in the way of arousal and hamper sufficient lubrication, making intercourse painful.

Largely, insufficient vaginal lubrication can make intercourse painful. Increased foreplay, relaxation, or using a lubricant helps.

A woman can also experience painful sex due to the following conditions –

  • Vaginismus - a common, yet painful condition in which the muscles spasm or contract when something enters the vagina; sometimes, its caused by the fear of getting hurt
  • Vaginal infections - chlamydia, Bacterial Vaginosis [BV], gonorrhoea, yeast infections, allergic reactions, trichomoniasis, and viral vaginitis are some infections that make intercourse painful
  • Uterus problems - the presence of fibroids can cause intercourse pain
  • Problems with ovaries - cysts on the ovaries can cause pain
  • Endometriosis - a condition in which tissues similar to the uterus lining grow outside the uterus
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease [PID] - tissues deep inside become inflamed and pressure of intercourse causes pain
  • Ectopic pregnancy - in this case, the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus
  • After childbirth and during breastfeeding, a woman’s hormonal levels are slowly recovering; this too can cause pain
  • STDs - herpes, genital warts
  • Vulvodynia - chronic pain or discomfort around the opening of your vulva. The burning, irritation, or pain associated with vulvodynia can make you think of not having sex at all. You must get yourself examined by a gynaecologist in such a situation
  • Menopause - a woman loses natural lubrication in her vagina due to a drop in estrogen levels as she nears menopause. This makes the vagina lining thin and dry, making penetration painful

So Monica, let me know which one of the above can you identify with the most or which one of the above have you been experiencing. That way, I can suggest the best remedy for you".

So, all you wonderful women out there, remember, seeking a timely diagnosis is very essential. After all, there is no reason that you should suffer in silence or live with pain. Address the cause pronto and enjoy a great sex life!

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