As research suggests, one in ten women may experience painful sex at some point in her life. At Capital Women’s Care in Leesburg and Sterling, Virginia and surrounding areas, women can find relief from the causes of painful intercourse. If you’re ready to take charge of your sexual health and experience more pleasure and freedom, our team of expert OB/GYN physicians can help.
Painful Intercourse Q&A
What causes painful intercourse?
It’s normal to experience some degree of discomfort during intercourse occasionally, but painful sex on a consistent basis could indicate a bigger problem. Pain during intercourse can happen for numerous reasons, both physical and emotional. Some causes might include:
- Endometriosis — Where endometrial tissue starts to grow outside of the uterus
- Pelvic adhesive disease — When two reproductive organs start to “stick” together via scar tissue
- Atrophic vaginitis — An inflammation and thinning of the vaginal tissue
- Vaginismus — An involuntary contraction of the muscles at the opening of the vagina
- Vaginitis — Pain, inflammation, or infection of the vagina
- STDs — Sexually transmitted diseases that cause irritation or pain
- PID — Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause pain during penetration
- Ovarian cysts — Small sacs that form on or in the ovaries
- Menopause — A period when natural changes in the reproductive organs can alter the sensations felt during sex
Painful sex might also be due to minor causes, such as insufficient lubrication or a skin disorder that affects the genitals. Emotional factors, too, can cause intercourse pain, such as stress, psychological problems, or a history of sexual abuse.
How is painful intercourse treated?
Your physician performs a thorough medical exam and evaluates your health history. She may also conduct a pelvic exam or a pelvic ultrasound.
Treatment is varied, depending on what’s causing your pain during sex. Some options might include:
If there is an underlying medical condition or infection to treat, medication may resolve the pain. For example, STDs can be treated with antibiotics or menopause-related discomfort can often be remedied with hormone therapy or vaginal creams.
In cases where you have a cyst or structural issue that’s causing your pain, surgery might be necessary to stop the pain at its source.
Your physician might suggest pelvic physical therapy, where you can learn vaginal relaxation or pelvic floor exercises to relieve pain.
How can I help myself?
To enjoy more pleasant sexual experiences, you might want to consider some lifestyle changes or self-care strategies, such as:
- Counseling, which can help you work through negative emotional reactions you may have developed toward sex because of the physical pain you experience during the act
- Communication with your partner to help them understand what feels good and what doesn’t
- Longer foreplay, which helps to stimulate natural lubrication and ready the body more easily for sex that is pain-free
If you’re concerned about painful sex, schedule a confidential consultation with one of the expert physicians at Capital Women’s Care today.