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Pain During Sex

Suffering from painful intercourse?

There are many potential causes of painful sex (dyspareunia) for both men and women. These include illness and infection, physical problems, or psychological issues.

There are a number of possible causes of dyspareunia, including: Lack of lubrication, whether due to nervousness, lack of foreplay and arousal, or changes in hormone levels, especially post-menopause; operative childbirth (use of a forceps, vacuum extractor, or episiotomy during labour, or giving birth by C-section).

Dyspareunia as a result of operative childbirth tends to improve within a year of giving birth; vaginismus, a condition in which the muscles of the vagina tighten involuntarily when penetration is attempted, making it difficult or impossible.

This condition is caused by a spasm of the vaginal muscles, and often has an emotional root of fear, either due to ideas about sex learned during childhood, a history of vaginal infections, emotional issues related to your partner, or a history of sexual abuse or instances of sexual trauma; collision dyspareunia, when the man’s penis hits the cervix (the opening of the womb, deep inside the vagina); endometriosis, which can make the tissues of the reproductive system very sensitive and tender, especially around the time of your period; cysts and fibroids; vaginal infections, such as PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), chlamydia, thrush, or bacterial vaginosis (BV); vulvitis, an inflammation of the opening of the vagina, which can be due to infection or allergic reaction; ectopic pregnancy, which can put pressure on the Fallopian tubes; cancer (in very rare cases).

Men may also suffer from dyspareunia, due to common skin disorders such as psoriasis or eczema, a thrush infection, a displaced IUD thread in the vagina, or Peyronie’s disease, which causes the penis to bend.

What to do next

Call us and make an appointment with a specialist if you experience dyspareunia, as it can often can be resolved with medical help

FAQ

I have been experiencing dyspareunia since giving birth. Is this permanent?

If your dyspareunia is the result of operative childbirth, your symptoms should improve within a year of giving birth. A doctor can give you support and advice on things that can help you to heal.

Do men suffer from dyspareunia?

Yes. Diseases affecting the skin or the shape of the penis can cause men to experience pain during sex.

Why am I experiencing pain during sex?

There are a number of potential causes of pain during sex (dyspareunia). If the root is not emotional or psychological, other conditions and infections can cause symptoms as well. If you are noticing pain during sex, make an appointment to see one of our doctors, who can help you get to the root cause and discuss how to help.

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