Painful sex is truly unpleasant but it's nothing to be ashamed about. We want to provide some information that helps explain what is going on and answer some of your questions. Many people tend to keep this issue to themselves because it might feel embarrassing or difficult to talk about. Pain during sex happens to a lot of women and it can have many causes. In this article, we cover some of the reasons why you might be experiencing pain during sex as a woman.
Painful sex is also known as dyspareunia.
Menopause: Menopause is one major reason why women might experience pain during sex. Vaginal dryness is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. A decrease in estrogen during menopause may result in a decrease in your body's ability to lubricate, which might make intimacy painful. The hormonal changes of menopause can cause the vaginal walls to become thin. This means that fewer cells are producing moisture, resulting in vaginal dryness. You're not alone if you don't feel sufficiently lubricated during intercourse. Using a personal lubricant can help alleviate some of the vaginal dryness. Lubes are designed to increase comfort and enjoyment during sex, so you don't have to rely on your body to do it for you. Always consult your doctor if you suspect something is wrong.
Having sex too soon postpartum: Pain during sex could occur when you have sex before you feel ready after vaginal delivery. Since your body is still healing from the whole childbirth process, it can be possible for you to experience pain during sexual intercourse. After having a baby, a person’s oxytocin level rises, causing their estrogen level to fall. This drop in estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness, causing intercourse to be painful.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs): Vaginal irritation can be caused by STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. The conditions could cause pain during sexual intercourse if not treated. The pain begins in the cervix or lower abdomen and is felt during or after penetration.
Infections: Intercourse can be painful due to a variety of genital infections, the most common of which are genital herpes, trichomoniasis and yeast infections. Even women who have no symptoms or are unaware of their infections can have minor changes in their vulva or vagina that cause pain. Parts of the body can become inflamed when you have an infection, too much touch can feel irritating or painful. In this case, it is best to consult with your doctor, get tested, and discuss ways to control this infection. Antibiotics and other medications can be used to alleviate the pain and eliminate the infection.
Vaginal tearing: Vaginal tearing could be one of the reasons you are experiencing pain during sexual intercourse. Many factors can contribute to vaginal tearing. Some women may have vaginal atrophy which causes the vaginal walls to thin and susceptible to tearing. This condition is more prevalent in menopausal women.
Vaginismus: Vaginismus is described as the body’s painful reaction to vaginal penetration. The muscles in the vagina can tighten, which is completely unintentional on the part of the woman. This condition can be excruciatingly painful and upsetting.
Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID): PID is a disease that affects one or more of the upper reproductive organs, as well as the uterus and fallopian tubes and is another possible cause of painful sex. It is usually felt in the pelvic or lower abdomen. In this case, pain is usually caused by scar tissue or adhesions that form as a result of infection.
When your pain is distressing and frequent, you should seek medical attention. If you are in pain for more than a few days or can't find the source of your pain, speaking to your doctor can help.
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