Pain During Sex - Causes and Treatments

By Maria T. Pepin

Sex is supposed to be a pleasurable experience. If you are noticing some pain during intercourse, it’s important to consult with your doctor right away. Do not ignore the problem because it can impact your relationship and have negative emotional effects as well. Proper treatment can help you go back to enjoying your sex life sooner than later.

Some causes of painful sex include:

Lack of lubrication~ If you are nervous during intercourse and have trouble relaxing, this can lead to a lack of lubrication. Take your time and build up your arousal. Foreplay and stimulation are essential for pleasurable lovemaking and vaginal lubrication.

Well-endowed partner~ If your partner’s member is large, you may experience some discomfort when the head of the penis hits your cervix. Make sure you communicate with your partner about how you are feeling and try out different positions to see which one feels the most comfortable.

Vaginal dryness~ Sex may become difficult and painful if there is dryness of the vagina. This is most prevalent with menopausal women, because estrogen levels become lower and the vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture. Water-based lubricants can help.

Infections~ Vaginal infections (such as a yeast infection) are fairly common and occur when bacteria, fungi or viruses grow in the vaginal area. Symptoms include a fishy smell, burning, itching, discharge and redness. Most women will get a vaginal infection at some point in their life. Usually, these infections respond to an antifungal treatment.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases~ Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and genital warts are all common STD’s that can cause pain during sex. Treatment is available in order to relieve your symptoms, even if a cure is not always possible.

Problems with the uterus or ovaries~ Problems with the uterus include fibroids. A fibroid is the most common benign tumor of a woman’s uterus. It can cause pelvic pain and frequent urination. Cysts on the ovaries are also a common occurrence in women and can cause intercourse pain. Most cysts go away on their own, but surgery is also an option.

Endometriosis~ This is a condition in which the endometruim (tissue lining the uterus) grows outside the uterus. The pressure of the penis on the cervix may cause pain. Hormone therapy is recommended to reduce the pain. To become pregnant, surgery and infertility treatment can help.

Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth~ Injuries may include a tear from childbirth or a cut (episiotomy) in the perenium (the area of skin between the vagina and the anus) that is made during labor. Most doctors recommend a 6-8 week period of recovery before attempting to have intercourse after birth.