Ways to deal with painful sexual intercourse


Ways to deal with painful sexual intercourse

Photo: ImagesBazaar

Painful sexual intercourse or dyspareunia is a sensitive topic among women in India and many experience it at some stage of their lives, though hardly talked about.

Women suffer from dyspareunia in various degrees. For its obvious nature, the problem often not recognized as a treatable disorder and hardly reported. Women would rather suffer in silence due to the fear of social mortification and an inability to articulate their pain even to their partner.

This takes a toll on them psychologically, physically, and relationships can get corroded. So there is a need to break the silence and to understand the common causes of dyspareunia. After knowing the facts about it, one can easily opt for medical help and can have a healthy sexual life.

The common causes of dyspareunia include the following:

Entry pain

Pain during penetration can be due to insufficient lubrication. This could be either because of lack of enough foreplay, certain medication or lowered estrogen levels that occur after menopause, childbirth or while breast-feeding.

Entry pain could also be caused by injury, irritation, infection or skin conditions. Other issues include conditions such as vaginismus – where there are involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall that can causes painful penetration – or congenital abnormality such as the absence of a fully-formed vagina (vaginal agenesis) or a membrane blocking the vaginal opening (imperforate hymen).

Deep pain

This refers to pain caused with deep penetration. It could occur because of illness such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, a retroverted uterus, hemorrhoids, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome and ovarian cysts. Other reasons include surgical implications such as scarring from pelvic surgery such as a hysterectomy. Radiation and chemotherapy for cancer could also cause dyspareunia.

Emotional issues

Emotional factors cannot be ruled out as causes for pain during intercourse. Anxiety, fear, stress, depression or relationship worries can all lead to lowered sex drive and uncomfortable intercourse. Past negative experiences with sex such as sexual abuse may also cause dyspareunia.

If you experience pain during sex, and have symptoms such as bleeding, genital lesions or involuntary vaginal muscle contractions, it is important to seek the help of health care provider early, before you begin to avoid sexual intercourse or feel anxious in anticipation of your partner. Your medical and sexual history, signs and symptoms, and findings from a physical exam are vital factors in finding out the root cause of your pain.

Here are certain ways to reduce the pain or discomfort.

  • Use of vaginal dilators
  • Trying to increase lubrication through topical creams or gels
  • Using hormone therapy
  • Increasing the blood flow with Viagra, a vibrator or a suction/pump
  • Trying different lubrications
  • Stretching exercises
  • Physical therapy to strengthen supporting muscles to alleviate pressure from other muscles
  • Exploring psychological factors that may be contributing

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