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Help! I am having pain during sex

Pain during sex – causes and treatments

Pain during sex or dyspareunia is sadly a common problem for many women.

Other than the obvious discomfort, it can have psychological effects. Your self-esteem and emotional intimacy within your relationship can be adversely affected.
A woman may be robbed of an avenue to relieve tension. Oxytocin and endorphins are released during sex that helps with stress relief. Since under these circumstances, a woman experiences no sexual pleasure, sex can be regarded with a sense of dread. Many different factors may cause this troublesome health issue but do not fear they are all treatable.

If you are suffering from Dyspareunia you may have questions. Let us take a closer look at the topic.

What are the symptoms of dyspareunia?

Pain during sex can present in a number of ways. Each individual experiences Dyspareunia differently. You may not experience pain when you first become sexually active but it may occur later on. Some of the symptoms experienced are as follows:

  • Aches
  • Cramps
  • Vaginal tearing
  • Burning sensation
  • Throbbing sensation

When the pain occurs may also vary. There may be a painful sensation:

  • At initial penetration
  • During thrusts
  • after intercourse, lasting for hours

What causes pain during sex?

We will explore 6 identifiable causes of Dyspareunia.


Vaginal dryness can cause painful chafing due to friction. This lack of proper lubrication can be caused by estrogen deficiency (due to childbirth, breastfeeding, or menopause). Restarting sexual intercourse may prove difficult after childbirth and during the breastfeeding period. Certain autoimmune conditions may adversely affect vaginal lubrication.

There are also medications that have the unpleasant side effect of vaginal dryness. They are:
– Chemotherapy drugs
– Decongestant medications


Painful intercourse can be caused by the common infections/inflammatory conditions listed below:

  • STDs Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, HSV Candidiasis (thrush)
  • Bacterial vaginosis
    Vulvitis (local irritation of the skin)

You should make a doctor’s appointment if you suspect you have any of the conditions mentioned above. They are all treatable. Your doctor will be able to advise you regarding your treatment plan.


There are certain pelvic diseases that affect the cervix, uterus, and ovaries. They often make sexual intercourse painful and unpleasant.

  • Uterine fibroids or polyps
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (caused by STDs and may result in infertility)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cervical cancer

Dyspareunia is often a symptom of these conditions and if you are experiencing other symptoms as well. You should seek medical attention promptly. Since these conditions may require urgent medical care.


If you have had a medical or surgical procedure or given birth recently there may be scar tissue on your pelvis that can cause painful sex.

Surgery, radiation, and childbirth (vaginal tear or episiotomy) may cause inflammation in your pelvis tissue and genitals. This will take 4 to 5 weeks to heal. Attempting to have sex before your body is completely healed, will be undoubtedly painful. It is better to wait before resuming sexual activity.


This condition causes painful vaginal spasms following penetration. These spasms are involuntary. No one knows what causes vaginismus. However, it has been linked to a fear of sex. Sometimes, a woman is able to enjoy sex with one partner while another partner may trigger her spasms.

Vaginismus may also be triggered by the insertion of tampons, medical devices during a pelvic, and fingers.


Sex is more complex than just the physical act of penetration. It involves emotional and mental connection. If a woman does not feel emotionally connected, her sexual experience can be painful.
Painful sex can be caused by emotional or psychological causes such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Relationship tension
  • Body image disorders

These mental issues can affect your sexual health and a consultation with a sexual counsellor or doctor may help.

What are my treatment options?

The treatment of dyspareunia depending on what is causing it.

Discuss with your doctor. You will need to answer questions about your sexual, medical history, medications, and lifestyle choices.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination. Depending on her findings, you may be sent for further tests.

Possible treatments for different causes of dyspareunia:

Infection Antibiotics
Vaginal dryness Topical and systemic estrogen, lubricants
Vaginismus Desensitization therapy

Dyspareunia is not something that you should be ashamed of and you should seek treatment if you are suffering from this condition. There are numerous potential causes of pain during sex.

If you speak with your doctor, he will ask questions that will give him insight into your medical history and lifestyle. This will give her the information that he needs to determine what tests you need.

Eventually, you will receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Feel free to contact us today. Help is only a phone call away!


  1. Notes on Dyspareunia. (1909). The Hospital46(1207), 667.
  2. Alligood-Percoco, N. R., Kjerulff, K. H., & Repke, J. T. (2016). Risk Factors for Dyspareunia After First Childbirth. Obstetrics and gynecology128(3), 512–518.
  3. Spahn, D. R., Bouillon, B., Cerny, V., Duranteau, J., Filipescu, D., Hunt, B. J., Komadina, R., Maegele, M., Nardi, G., Riddez, L., Samama, C. M., Vincent, J. L., & Rossaint, R. (2019). The European guideline on management of major bleeding and coagulopathy following trauma: fifth edition. Critical care (London, England)23(1), 98.

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