Does sex hurt for women?

Pain during sex is very common in women. As per a report by the United States, 3 out of 4 women feel pain while having sex. Pain during sex occurs sometimes, but if you are feeling pain always then you must get yourself checked. 

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Painful intercourse in scientific medical term is called Dyspareunia. It means that pain does not occur only during sex but also before and before sex. In any part of the genital area, the pain may occur. The most common places where pain occurs are:

  • Within the vagina
  • In the perineum (i.e. between the anus and the vagina)
  • In the vestibule (opening of the vagina) and
  • Around or in the vulva

Some women have also reported feeling pain in areas like their gall bladder, uterus, pelvic area or lower back. Sexual intercourse cannot be enjoyed, if you feel any such type of pain. To avoid this, many women avoid having sex. 

Getting diagnosed

Since, women feel shy and uncomfortable, diagnosing dyspareunia becomes very difficult for the doctors. Women do not want to reveal that they feel painful while having sex as they are embarrassed. There are not one but many reasons like simple vaginal dryness or infections or complicated situations like endometriosis or ovarian cysts. This can also be caused by natural occurrences like aging or childbirth. Some women even feel that feelings of failure or sexually transmitted diseases are associated with painful sex. 

Painful Sex: Possible Reasons

Following are some of the reasons which lead to painful sex:

  1. Contact dermatitis: This is a skin related problem in which cracks or tears are caused in the vulva that makes sex very painful. It happens in women who are allergic to douches, condoms, lubricants or perfumed soaps. 
  2. Endometriosis: Tissue which is usually lined inside your uterus is found in your pelvic region is called endometriosis. The symptoms are painful stabbing sensation, excessive urination, upper body pain, constipation or diarrhea, or stomach upset etc. 
  3. Vulvodynia: Vulvodynia is a condition in which there is chronic pain in your vulva. The main lasts for three months or more. There would be a burning sensation in the vulva which makes it very uncomfortable and irritable. 
  4. Vaginitis: There is a painful inflammation in this situation. It is caused due to yeast or bacterial infection and some develop this if they come in contact with any skin disorder or during menopause. 
  5. Vaginismus: In this condition your vaginal muscles tighten involuntarily thus having painful spasm. Also, it becomes very difficult for a penis to enter your vagina causing not only physical but emotional pain. It also causes skin conditions, injuries, fears about sex and hormonal changes. Women with vaginisums cannot use tampons. 
  6. Ovarian cysts: Pain during sex gets aggravated when women have larger ovarian cysts. If you still continue to have painful sex, the cysts might tear and the fluid starts leaking. It is caused during a pregnancy or due to another crucial condition called endometriosis. 
  7. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): In this condition the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes are left inflamed which in turn makes penetration very painful. This is caused by infection and should be looked after immediately.  

Other reasons for painful sex

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, some other reasons for painful se are: 

  • Birth control drugs: These medications might affect sexual arousal or desire. 
  • Use of perfumed douches or soaps can cause allergic reactions. 
  • Atrophy or change in estrogen levels caused by menopause or perimenopause. 
  • Everyday life stress
  • Uncertain feelings like anxiety, fear, guilt or shame towards sex.
  • Romantic relationship problems
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Vaginal dryness

What should you do?

If you are getting hurt during or before sex, try out following remedies and if you continue to feel pain, then visit your doctor. 

If you feel pain, soreness, or itchiness around the genitals, or unusual discharge, get STI test or treatment for thrush. If you have vaginal dryness, then one of the easiest ways to consider that would be helpful is to use a lubricant. Using water based lubricants is highly recommended. They go very well with the condoms. Using oil based lubricants damages the condoms, thus making them ineffective. Some lubricants may be irritable to your skin, so do not worry. Stop using it.

You might feel some irritation around your genitals. This may be due to some products which you are using. You must be allergic to some ingredients of the product. Stop using them too. If you have a lot f anxiety issues or any emotional reason then consult a sex therapist. This might be helpful.  

Even after doing these simple tips, if you continue to feel pain during intercourse then it is advised to take your doctor’s help. The doctor might check you thoroughly and tell you if there is any problem and how to treat it properly. 

Seeing your doctor

Your doctor will easily be able to tell you the reason behind experiencing pain during intercourse. You should be very specific and clear when you are talking to your doctor. Tell your doctor each and every detail like when the pain occurs, when the pain occurs, are you on some medication, whether the pain if occurring during sex or before or after sex. This will help doctor in analyzing your problem easily. 

It is advised that women should keep a track record of their menstrual cycle and sexual history. The pain levels, feelings and other things should be noted that if any problem occurs, then you will have some details in hand to share it with your doctor. The doctor can help you getting over your sexual pain so that you can enjoy it. 

Sex is supposed to be pleasurable, and it can be frustrating when it’s not. If you’re experiencing pain during sex, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault. Talking to your doctor may be the first step you take toward learning what’s causing your pain and ultimately finding a treatment.


Image Source: Google Photos

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