Dyspareunia is the medical terminology for painful intercourse experienced by women. The pain is unbearable and it can have a considerable impact on sexual life. Therefore, a medical check up, following a treatment is the only solution.
Symptoms of Dyspareunia
The pain can occur during penile thrusting which is also known as entry pain. Deep pain, as the name suggests can be experienced in certain positions and on deep penetration. However, under any circumstances certain symptoms are common.
- Pain in vagina during and after intercourse
- Pain while inserting tampons
- Pain in urethra, bladder, cramping in abdomen and other parts of the pelvis
- Itching and burning sensation in the vagina during penetration
- Tightness in the vagina
- Sexual pain with specific partners (circumstance based)
Causes of Dyspareunia
Several conditions and circumstances can give rise to this kind of painful condition.
- Insufficient lubrication due to dryness and lack of foreplay
- Drop in estrogen levels after menopause
- Pelvic operation, surgery (circumcision) or episiotomy
- Inflammation or infection in the genital area like STDs, yeast infections, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
- Chemotherapy, radiation and various other cancer treatments
- Gynaecological problems like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts etc.
- Decrease in libido due to medications – NSAIDs, blood pressure pills, contraceptives, antihistamines
- Fear of sex, anxiety, stress, fatigue
- Vaginal atrophy
- Female Genital mutilation
- History of sexual abuse and trauma
How to prepare for the appointment?
- Fix an appointment with your gynaecologist when you experience pain while having sex.
- Make sure you prepare a checklist of the symptoms you are experiencing and also the questions that you want to clarify.
- Carry your medical reports if you have and be prepared to answer your doctor clearly without any sort hesitation.
- Do not worry and try to come with your spouse on the day of appointment
Diagnosis of Dyspareunia
Just like any other gynaecological check up, your doctor will ask you several questions about the symptoms, the nature of the pain, your medical history or if you are taking any pills. Overall, a thorough medical exam will be carried out.
A pelvic exam will be performed to check for abnormalities in the vagina or other pelvic organs. This might follow a pelvic ultrasound, allergy test or cultural test (to rule out for infection) or urine test.
Treatment of Dyspareunia
Several treatment options are there depending on the underlying cause and the intensity of the pain. We explain them below:
- Counselling is offered by doctors to improve sexual life and to educate on how to have pleasurable experience. Sex therapy also helps deal with stress, anxiety, fear and other emotions that negate sexual satisfaction and make it painful
- Lack of lubrication can be treated with topical lubricants and stimulants
- Different types of creams like estrogen cream and mild pain killers are suggested to combat pain and discomfort
- Antibiotics and anti-fungal medicines are prescribed to eradicate wide range of vaginal infections
- A very effective exercise known as Kegel exercise works well on dyspareunia as it helps to relax the vaginal muscles and gradually relieves pain
What to expect?
Dyspareunia is completely treatable. Follow your doctor’s advice to improve your sexual performance. Communicate with your partner properly on aspects like what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t. This helps a lot to cope with situational dyspareunia.
Do not suppress your emotions if you are experiencing painful intercourse. You need to patiently wait for the pain to mitigate and during this span take your partner’s support and complete the course of treatment to regain pleasure.
Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015