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Gynecology Services


Painful Intercourse

Pain During Intercourse

When a woman feels pain during sexual relations, it is called Dyspareunia. Painful sex is fairly common. It can be mild to severe and can be present in the vulva, within the vagina, or deep inside. Vulvar pain is felt ont he surface (outside) of the vagina. Vaginal pain is felt within the vagina. Deep pain can occur in the lower back, pelvic region, uterus and bladder. Different types of pain have different causes.

Vulvar Pain:

Pain occurs when some part of the vulvar is touched. The vulvar may be tender or irritated from using soaps or over the counter vaginal products. Other causes can be secondary to infections, scars, or cysts.

Vaginal Pain:

The most common cause of pain in the vagina is vaginal dryness. Often it is helpful for a couple to use vaginal creams or gels for lubrication. However, never use any kind of oil (petroleum jelly, baby or mineral oil), especially with latex condoms. Vaginal dryness can occur with certian medication, certian medical conditions or becuase you are not aroused. It can occur at certain times in woman's life such as during or just after pregnancy, while breastfeeding or near menopause.

Another cause of vaginal pain is vaginitis- an inflammation of the vagina. Symptoms include discharge, itching, and burning. Vaginitis has many causes such as yeast or bacteria infection.

Vaginismus is a spasm in the muscle of the vaginal opening. The pain occurs when your partner tries to enter the vagina. In some instances, it can occur during a pelvic exam. Vaginimus can be response to a fear of some kind, such as being afraid of pregnancy. It is sometimes caused by past pain or trauma from rape or sexual abuse.

Deep Pain:

Pain that happens when the penis touches the cervix can have many causes:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • A pelvic mass
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Bowel or Bladder disease
  • Scar Tissue (adhesions)

Dyspareunia can also be linked to a state of mind. Emotional factors, like memories or fears, can keep you from relaxing. This prevents arousal and lubrication. SOme women can have pain during sex if they are having problems with their partners. Finally, dyspareunia could be a sign of a more serious problem. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, with the proper treatment, you can enjoy your sex life again.

Click here for more information (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)