Dyspareunia is a medical term that is associated with heavy pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. And women who suffer from the issue tend to abhor the very thought of having sex owing to the pain they would experience during penetration.
Although pain during sexual intercourse, especially the first time is quite normal and would be experienced by almost every other woman out there, repeated instances of the same could possibly signify another problem that would need to be checked by a doctor.
Dyspareunia is more common in young, inexperienced females and can be caused by either physical or psychological issues. While the causes would be physical in most cases, psychological factors cannot be overlooked and could possibly throw some light on the issue, especially if all the physical reasons for the same are ruled out beforehand.
Dyspareunia is sometimes mistaken as vaginismus as both conditions are related to sexual dysfunction and share almost all the same symptoms. There are cases wherein dyspareunia and vaginismus occur together or follow each other in quick succession.
Causes For Dyspareunia
Here are some of the most common causes for dyspareunia in females.
Females who don’t lubricate enough often contract dyspareunia. Without proper lubrication, the vaginal opening and vulva would not be able to stretch to its maximum size and so would cause pain during penetration.
And while there may be many reasons for inadequate lubrication, the most common causes include nervousness, fatigue; disinterest in sex, hang-ups or a medical condition that could cause vaginal dryness.
Vaginal Dryness During Menopause
Women who reach their menopausal stage can sometimes suffer from dyspareunia. The reason for this is attributed to the fact that the hormonal levels in a woman’s body would fluctuate and fall considerably during the menopausal and post menopausal stages. With lack of the necessary sexual hormones, the vagina would become dry. This in turn would cause the woman in question extreme pain during sex.
Vaginal And Bladder Infections
Women who suffer from vaginal infections like thrush, herpes or trichomonas etc. usually experience pain and discomfort during sex. Bladder infections could also cause dyspareunia, especially if there are blisters or fissures involved. These infections can also cause a woman to feel nervous and apprehensive about her sexual performance, thereby making it difficult for her to lubricate properly during intercourse.
Injuries, Wounds And Other Medical Conditions
Injury to the vagina and the surrounding regions can cause pain during sex, aka dyspareunia. The causes for injuries include rape, sexual assault, child birth, episiotomy or a stitched wound that fails to heal properly etc.
Conditions like genital warts, vulvitis (inflammation of the vulva), urethral caruncle (tender skin at the vaginal opening), haematoma (a bruise or blood clot in the vagina), vulvodynia (extremely sensitive and painful vulva) or cancer can also cause dyspareunia in women.
Other Not So Common Reasons
Dyspareunia can also be caused by a foreign object that gets lodged in the vagina and is often forgotten. With time, the object (for example, a tampon) becomes infectious and starts affecting the vaginal walls and the vulva, thus causing extreme pain during sexual intercourse.
In very rare cases, a woman may contract dyspareunia if her vagina is not able to accommodate her partner’s sexual organ. A large penis can cause pain if it puts excess pressure on the vaginal walls to stretch further than their capacity.
Effective Treatment For Dyspareunia
The first step to effectively treating dyspareunia lies in correctly diagnosing the exact reason behind the issue. And this could be done only by a qualified professional.
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A doctor would usually check various factors related to the issue before diagnosing it. This would include finding out whether the pain is situational or localized, whether occurs regularly or at specific intervals, whether the patient has dealt with the issue before, and whether the issue is a lifelong complaint etc.
Water Based Lubricants Can Help
If you have trouble lubricating, you can opt for water based lubricants that can help reduce friction and the pain associated with it during penetration. Avoid lubricants that are oil based as they could potentially cause vaginal infection.
Take Care Of Medical Conditions
If you suffer from any of the medical conditions mentioned above, you need to get them treated first before getting treated for dyspareunia. In most cases, the symptoms of dyspareunia (the pain) would start to disappear as you recover from the underlying medical condition.
Lack of estrogens in the body could cause vaginal dryness and hence dyspareunia. Consider opting for supplements (for example, pills or vaginal rings) or therapies (for example, estrogen replacement therapy) that can help increase the estrogen levels in the body. However, you need to consult a doctor before opting for any supplement or therapies.
Change Your Sexual Routine
Maybe the position in which you have routine sex could be causing pain in your vagina. Maybe you are not getting aroused enough. Or maybe you feel the pain only with deep penetration. In these cases, you can get relief from dyspareunia by making a few changes to your normal sexual routine.
Accordingly, you can experiment with different positions to find out which position suits you best (doesn’t cause pain). In case of pain that accompanies deep penetration, you can opt for positions that do not require the latter.
Indulge in more foreplay to get more aroused. This would most definitely stimulate natural lubrication and hence reduce the pain you experience during penetration.
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