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Painful intercourse impacts women’s lives far beyond the bedroom

Persistent or recurrent pain in the vaginal area just before, during, or after intercourse can be attributed to dyspareunia or painful intercourse. There are many different causes for painful intercourse. Fortunately, many of them are easily treatable once identified by your urogynecologist. Women with dyspareunia may have pain in the vagina, clitoris or labia. Often, symptoms can be related to hormonal issues, physical irregularities or illness, psychological concerns or even stress.

Painful intercourse symptoms

Women may experience painful intercourse, or dyspareunia, in different ways. So being aware of your specific symptoms can help your urogynecologist get to the root of your pain.

If you have painful intercourse, you might feel:

  • Pain only at sexual entry (penetration)
  • Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon
  • Deep pain during thrusting
  • Burning pain or aching pain
  • Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
painful intercourse

Your doctor will also want to know if you have always experienced pain during intercourse if you have tried over-the-counter lubricants during intercourse and your sexual history including instances of abuse or assault. Because a drop in estrogen can trigger painful intercourse symptoms, tell your doctor if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms. Also, mention it if you are breastfeeding or taking medications that could interfere with estrogen production.

Causes of painful intercourse

Causes of dyspareunia can include the following:

  • Vaginal dryness, often caused by decreased estrogen
  • Thinning of the vaginal lining
  • Weakened, less elastic vaginal walls
  • Side effects of drugs such as antihistamines and tamoxifen
  • Endometriosis, a painful condition in which tissue from the uterine lining grows abnormally inside the pelvis
  • Vulvar vestibulitis, an inflammation of the area surrounding the vaginal opening
  • Skin diseases in the vaginal area, such as lichen planus and lichen sclerosus
  • Vaginal dryness, often caused by decreased estrogen
  • Thinning of the vaginal lining
  • Weakened, less elastic vaginal walls
  • Side effects of drugs such as antihistamines and tamoxifen
  • Endometriosis, a painful condition in which tissue from the uterine lining grows abnormally inside the pelvis
  • Vulvar vestibulitis, an inflammation of the area surrounding the vaginal opening
  • Skin diseases in the vaginal area, such as lichen planus and lichen sclerosus
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Psychological trauma, often stemming from sexual abuse or trauma
  • Allergic reactions to clothing, spermicides or douches
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Psychological trauma, often stemming from sexual abuse or trauma
  • Allergic reactions to clothing, spermicides or douches

Your doctor will also want to know if you have always experienced pain during intercourse if you have tried over-the-counter lubricants during intercourse and your sexual history including instances of abuse or assault. Because a drop in estrogen can trigger painful intercourse symptoms, tell your doctor if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms. Also, mention it if you are breastfeeding or taking medications that could interfere with estrogen production.

Treating painful intercourse

There are many potential underlying causes of painful intercourse. These range from the vaginal dryness associated with menopause to sexually transmitted diseases to structural abnormalities to something as simple as a urinary tract infection. Your urogynecologist will be able to discuss a treatment plan based on what they find during your pelvic exam and overall assessment.

One common cause is vaginal atrophy, most often associated with a drop in estrogen production caused by menopause, breastfeeding, reproductive surgeries or certain cancer treatments. Vaginal atrophy can be treated with diVa vaginal rejuvenation laser therapy, a painless, non-invasive treatment with zero downtime and proven outcomes.

Talk to your doctor about painful intercourse

Don’t be embarrassed or anxious about discussing painful intercourse with your doctor. There are many effective treatments available for the underlying causes of painful intercourse. Those options may include the use of medication and pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels. Changing your sexual routine with new positions, longer foreplay and the use of lubricants can be an important first step to stopping pain during intercourse.

For women suffering dyspareunia caused by lack of moisture, vaginal inflammation or thinning and sensitive vaginal walls, a urogynecologist may suggest laser vaginal rejuvenation using diVa laser vaginal therapy to provide long-term relief.

At Coyle Institute, we treat many patients suffering from dyspareunia and work with them to properly diagnose and identify the causes of their pain. We want each woman to be not only free from pain but free to enjoy intimate relationships without fear. Therefore, we work with each patient to restore their sense of sexuality and self.

If you’re suffering from painful intercourse, call the caring team of women’s healthcare experts at Coyle Institute to schedule a consultation and find effective solutions today!