HomeHealthCareWhy You Experience Painful Intercourse and Its Treatment

Why You Experience Painful Intercourse and Its Treatment


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Why You Experience Painful Intercourse and Its Treatment

Painful intercourse (dyspareunia) can be uncomfortable. According to studies, up to 22% of sexually active women have sex pain. 

This syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, sickness, specific drugs, age-related changes, or psychological stresses. Speak with your health professional if you have frequent painful intercourse to see what is causing your symptoms.

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The signs and causes of painful intercourse are talked about in this article.

Symptoms associated with painful intercourse

Pain associated with sex can occur before, during, or after penetrative intercourse. Pain might also differ depending on personal reasons.

Health professionals may ask questions like these to help identify the source of pain:

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  • Do you feel discomfort during sexual intercourse or only during penetration?
  • Do you just feel discomfort at the onset of the penetration?
  • Do you feel discomfort outside of intercourse, such as while inserting a tampon?
  • Do you experience discomfort after sexual activity or only during it?
  • Is the pain throbbing, aching, scorching, or another sensation?

To assist your healthcare professional in better understanding your symptoms, write down your symptoms or maintain a journal of when the pain occurs.

What Causes Painful Intercourse?

Some causes of painful sex are simply handled, while others necessitate additional assistance.[1]

The following are some of the possible reasons for painful sex:

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Low estrogen levels

Menopause, childbirth, and nursing can all have an impact on estrogen levels, resulting in decreased lubrication.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Certain STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can cause vaginal discomfort and pain during intercourse. If left untreated, these infections can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease, which is another source of painful sex.

Genital herpes

Herpes creates blisters and ulcers in the genital area, leading to uncomfortable intercourse.


Inflammation, irritation, itching, or discharge caused by bacteria or yeast infections in the vagina can make intercourse uncomfortable.


Painful sex can be caused by involuntary vaginal wall muscle spasms.

Pelvic disorders

Pelvic disorders such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can all cause painful sex. Another disorder that can make sex difficult is vulvodynia.

Injury or trauma to the genital area

Childbirth can result in genital injury or trauma, such as vaginal rips or episiotomies, which can lead to painful intercourse. Prior injuries or pelvic surgery may also have a role.

Previous sexual attack or trauma

Prior sexual trauma can have a detrimental impact on sex and make it harder to relax during intercourse.

What Medications Can Cause Excessive Pain During Intercourse?

Certain drugs have an effect on arousal, desire, and vaginal lubrication. These are some examples:

  • Birth control drugs, such as oral pills and injectable birth control.
  • Sedatives
  • Cold and allergy treatments that decrease mucus and moisture levels, including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Estrogen modulators, as well as other chemotherapeutic drugs, are employed in cancer treatment.

How do we treat painful sexual Intercourse?

The treatment for painful intercourse will be determined by the source of your pain.


Antibiotics may be required for sexually transmitted illnesses. Endometriosis and PCOS may require a diverse strategy that involves drugs as well as lifestyle changes. Surgery is necessary for some circumstances.

Low estrogen levels caused by menopause, childbirth, or nursing can be addressed in a variety of ways.

Vaginal Lubricants

Vaginal lubricants can help relieve discomfort caused by vaginal dryness. Others discover that increasing the amount of time spent in foreplay increases desire and natural lubrication. Estrogen treatment may be appropriate for some people, particularly those who are postmenopausal.

It may comfort some people to know that changes in sexual function are typical, particularly during pregnancy, delivery, and nursing.

Due to a variety of factors, including discomfort from birth trauma, most couples do not resume pre-pregnancy levels of sexual intercourse until 12 months following delivery.

Therapy and Training Tools

If your painful intercourse is caused by an injury, stress, or strain, you may require the assistance of a qualified pelvic floor expert. They can assist you in overcoming physical impediments to sex by employing instruments such as vaginal dilators or pelvic floor treatment.

Pelvic physiotherapists employ techniques such as myofascial release, intra-vaginal massage, and transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) to alleviate discomfort and improve sexual function.

Individuals suffering from prior abuse or trauma, as well as those suffering from sexual dysfunction, might benefit from the services of mental health experts. Because many people who feel pain with sex also struggle with anxiety and depression, it’s critical to get support from a mental health specialist when necessary.

What other treatment options are there for painful intercourse?

Other methods for dealing with painful intercourse caused by vaginal dryness and inflammation include:

  • Do not douch.
  • Use the appropriate absorbency tampon for your needs.
  • Smoking and nicotine products should be avoided.
  • Avoid perfumed soaps and bubble baths, which can irritate the skin.
  • If penetrative sex is too painful, alternative forms of physical intimacy with your partner exist, such as outercourse and oral sex.

When Should You See a Doctor?

It is critical to consult your healthcare practitioner if you are experiencing discomfort as a result of sex. Sex-related pain is not normal. Simple treatment solutions can sometimes decrease or even eliminate the source of discomfort.

Consult your doctor if you have any additional symptoms such as discharge, burning, fever, itching, or unexplained bleeding. This might be an infection or another condition that requires rapid medical treatment.

It’s critical to get an accurate diagnosis for painful sexual experiences since symptoms might point to more serious diseases or infections. Untreated painful intercourse is also linked to mental health problems such as sadness and anxiety.


Painful intercourse can occur for a variety of reasons. In other circumstances, therapy is as easy as increasing foreplay, using over-the-counter lubricants, and taking antibiotics. In certain circumstances, treatment is more extensive. Conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, menopause-related changes, or prior sexual trauma may necessitate additional assistance from sexual health specialists.

In conclusion

Painful sex isn’t normal, and you don’t have to put up with it. Discuss your symptoms with your healthcare physician if you suffer discomfort during intercourse. Though this subject may be uncomfortable or unpleasant for some, it is vital to remember that healthcare personnel are trained to safeguard your privacy and to address all queries professionally.

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