Painful Sex?

by Dr. Jeanette M. Pilotte, MD, FACOG, Women’s Health and Wellness

Painful sex or dyspareunia is genital pain during or after sexual intercourse. It can be felt externally or internally and is one of the more common gynecological problems.

It can have negative emotional and psychological effects. In addition to the physical pain, couples may suffer from loss of intimacy or experience strain in their relationship.

Factors such as underlying medical conditions or infections can cause painful sex. It’s usually treated by identifying the underlying cause of the pain.

For many menopausal women, that cause is vaginal atrophy or genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).

There are treatment options!

These include hormone replacement therapy, topical creams that when applied correctly can be very beneficial and several nonhormonal treatments.

Some questions we may ask you:

  • Where is the pain occurring?
  • How often does the pain occur?
  • How long have you been having painful intercourse?
  • What does the pain feel like?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you had any prior surgeries in the area?
  • Have you been treated for any conditions of the vagina?

Pain during sex can lead to physical discomfort, emotional distress and loss of intimacy. If having sex hurts you, contact your health care provider.

Do not feel embarrassed to discuss your symptoms. Treating the problem can help your sex life, intimacy and confidence. Do not hesitate to discuss your issue; it could change your life!