Pain during sex also called dyspareunia, is a pretty common issue that can affect any woman at any age. This nasty problem can even lead to negative emotional effects. According to statistics, dyspareunia affects nearly 10% to 20% of U.S. women. It’s important to know that pain during intercourse is not normal, it’s a body signal that something is wrong, therefore don’t ignore it.
1. Sexually transmitted infections
In most cases, sexually transmitted infections are symptomless but sometimes they can manifest themselves with dyspareunia, burning, bleeding, abnormal discharge, or a combination of these symptoms.
Such STIs as chlamydia, HPV, and gonorrhea can often lead to pain during sex. Pelvic examination and screening for STIs are required in this case. Most doctors recommend being screened every six months but those who are not in a monogamous relationship need to be tested every eight weeks.
2. Insufficient lubrication
Insufficient lubrication is one of the leading causes of dyspareunia. When you’re not properly primed for intercourse and experience vaginal dryness, penetration may feel uncomfortable and painful and can lead to tearing abrasions, and even some infections.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, using a water-based lubricant and masturbation or oral sex before intercourse can be helpful. You can also try silicone or oil-based lubricants as they last longer than water-based lubricants. This makes them the best option for women with severe vaginal dryness. But keep in mind that silicone-based lubricants are not safe to use with sex toys and they can be greasy.
3. Some chronic pain conditions
If you’re experiencing sudden dyspareunia, it could be possible that you suffer from a chronic pain condition, for example, chronic vulvodynia, endometriosis or pelvic floor spasms.
Chronic pain disorders occur without an identifiable cause but it’s believed that genetics, diet, and immunology can trigger them. Pain due to these conditions may be caused by stress or past trauma.
4. Pudendal neuralgia
The pudendal nerve innervates the external genitalia and the skin around the anus. It also communicates brain signals to the vaginal-clitoral network. Pudendal neuralgia often causes dyspareunia, vaginal numbness, as well as pain in the anus.
This condition is usually caused by prolonged sitting, traumatic birth, vaginal trauma, and episiotomy (a surgical cut of the perineum during childbirth done to prevent tissue rupture).
5. Cervical sensitivity or polyps
The cervix is the barrier between the uterus and the vaginal canal and when it becomes larger than usual it may result in pain during intercourse. Sensitive cervix means irritated cervix which makes it more prone to bleeding and inflammation.
This condition can be caused by cervicitis, pregnancy, cervical ectropion, polyps, or even cervical cancer. Therefore, if you notice unusual vaginal discharge and bleeding between periods along with dyspareunia, you should make an appointment with your gynecologist to exclude cervical inflammation, HPV infection or cervical polyps.
Treatment options can vary depending on the cause of pain during intercourse. If your pain is annoying and harms your sex life and overall well-being, it requires consultation with a health professional.
You can also try working with a pelvic floor specialist – a highly trained professional that will help you rehabilitate your pelvic floor muscles with the help of stretching and exercises. If you experience this problem due to psychological or emotional factors, you need to work with a therapist to relieve physical pain.
Also read: These 12 Things Can Lower Your Sex Drive
Amelia Grant believes that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. Check out her website and blog for more.
Author: Ameila Grant
Amelia Grant is a journalist and blogger that believes information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. She has a strong passion for sharing useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. She is an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle. You can check out her website for daily updates at Amelia’s Blog.