The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia, which is persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after intercourse. Many women experience pain during sex at some point during their lives.
Pain-Causing Health Conditions
Pain during sex can be an indicator of many health conditions, including:
- Yeast infections
- Reactions or allergies (non-infectious vaginitis)
- Vaginismus, a common condition that involves an involuntary spasm in the vaginal muscles
- Vaginal infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Problems with the cervix
- Endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside the uterus and causes bleeding
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which occurs when the tissues deep inside become badly inflamed and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain
- Ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg develops outside the uterus
- Menopause, where the vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and become dry
- Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth
- Sexually transmitted diseases (including Chlamydia and Gonorrhea)
- Injury to the vulva or vagina, which may include a tear from childbirth or from a cut made in the area of the skin between the vagina and the anus during labor
- Vulvodynia, a chronic pain that affects the external sex organs
Although each condition has different symptoms, a diagnosis may be tricky and it’s possible you could have more than one condition at the same time. Be sure to consult with a women’s health specialist to discuss your personal health history, your current health situation, and other symptoms you may be experiencing to better help make a diagnosis of the underlying concerns.
When to See a Doctor for Pain During Sex
Some treatments for pain during sex do not require medical treatment. However, if you’ve been experiencing pain during sex that’s persistent and recurring and more conventional methods such as lubrication, gentleness, and over-the-counter medications fail to relieve the pain, it is recommended you seek counsel from a women’s health specialist.
You should see a doctor if you experience any other symptoms, such as:
- Genital lesions
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal discharge
- Involuntary vaginal muscle contractions
Keep a note of any other symptoms you experience alongside the pain. This will help your doctor more quickly diagnose you and prescribe a treatment plan to relieve your pain as quickly as possible.
Your healthcare provider will likely order diagnostic tests to locate the source of the pain.
If you are currently experiencing fever, bloody stools, chest pain, yellow skin (jaundice) or abdominal swelling and tenderness, seek immediate medical attention as you may be experiencing a serious medical condition that requires immediate help.
How Advanced Gynecology Can Help: Treatment Options for Pain
If you’ve been experiencing persistent pain during sex, Advanced Gynecology is here for you.
Our board-certified team of women’s health experts are ready to help you with diagnostic care and a range of options from pain management solutions to surgical procedures to hormone therapy to a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. We will counsel you about the best options for you and your health.
For more information, schedule an appointment today or call us to speak with one of our patient coordinators.