Painful intercourse or dyspareunia, occurs in many women at some point in their lives. It is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. The causes of painful intercourse can include both physical and psychological features, however, no matter the underly issue it can have overwhelming effect on relationships and, if left untreated, can lead to a breakdown in intimacy and possibly the relationship itself.
What can cause painful intercourse?
Painful intercourse can be caused by both physical and psychological reasons. Some of the common reasons for painful intercourse include:
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- uterine prolapse
- uterine fibroids
- irritable bowel syndrome
- ovarian cysts.
Surgeries or medical treatments can also cause painful intercourse due to scar tissue and changes to the structure of the vagina. One of our clients came to us after undergoing years treatment for cervical cancer as radiation and chemotherapy, that can cause changes making sex painful. Whilst she had combatted cervical cancer and won, the damage done fighting the cancer had caused a change that lead to painful intercourse with her partner. This was not only a physical pain but also caused her emotional distress as she wanted to enjoy her life after surviving cancer with her partner.
There are many emotional factors that may also lead to painful intercourse such as underlying psychological trauma due to past sexual abuse and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression can often lead to a fear of intimacy due to concerns about your physical appearance. This can lead to a fear of intimacy and relationships leading to a low level of arousal and resulting in discomfort of pain.
What couples can do to overcome painful intercourse
Open conversation is key to overcoming painful intercourse together as a team. Tell your partner what you are experiencing and discuss different options together. Engaging in more foreplay and using lubricant may assist with arousal and form closer emotional bonds between you as a couple. If you are still experiencing discomfort, book a consultation with your gynaecologist in order to work out the best course of action. You may even want to bring your partner with you to your consultation in order for them to gain a better understanding and provide emotional support.
Until vaginal penetration becomes less painful and bothersome, you and your partner might find other options to be more comfortable, more filling and more fun than your regular routine. Sensual massage, kissing and mutual masturbation can all be good alternatives to intercourse.
What can be done to help with painful intercourse
There are many treatment options available that may assist with painful intercourse. These can include using laser treatments, a non invasive treatment for reshaping and revitalising of scar tissue and atrophic mucosa of the vagina. Our team at FBW Gynaecology plus are up to date on the latest treatments available for painful intercourse such as MonaLisa Touch and Emcyte Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).
Learn More about reducing painful intercourse and genital rejuvenation
To discover more about painful intercourse and the different treatments available that can meet your individual health needs, please give our friendly team a call on (08) 8819 0414.