What is Dyspareunia?
Let’s talk about sex and pain. Painful intercourse is called Dyspareunia (pronounced dis-paroonia) and can be a serious medical problem.
Dyspareunia affects females more than males. Anatomically, pain can arise in the labia, clitoris or the vagina. Women may experience pain superficially at the entrance to the vagina or deeper during penetration or thrusting of the penis. Vaginal muscles may tighten spasmodically during penetration (vaginismus).
Seventy-five percent of all women have experienced an episode of painful sex at some point in their life. For most women, the problem is temporary and does not require consultation with a healthcare provider.
What is the cause of Dyspareunia?
Common causes are dryness, thinning of the vaginal wall, drug side effects, and allergies to clothing or spermicides, as well as, inflammation of the uterus, pelvis, vulva, or urinary tract. Anatomic causes of sexual pain can include muscular pain syndromes, uterine abnormalities, and pelvic organ prolapse. Malignancy and neurologic disorders may be involved. Physiological trauma from sexual abuse may be one of the more enigmatic causes and most difficult to treat.
When should I seek care for painful intercourse? What should I expect when I see my provider?
If you are having painful intercourse or frequent episodes of pain you should see your doctor. You should expect your provider to take a detailed medical and sexual history and perform a physical exam. He or she will check your vaginal wall for signs of dryness, inflammation, infection, genital warts, and scarring. Your doctor also will do an internal pelvic examination to look for abnormal pelvic masses, tenderness or signs of endometriosis and tests may be ordered. You should be prepared to discuss all medications that you are taking and share how you feel about sex, your body and your partner. You may be referred to a physical therapist or another specialist.
Men can experience painful sex too; it may arise from prostatitis, infections, dermatitis and a number of other problems. Medical attention may be required. Contact us today or visit our blog page for more information!
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!