Dyspareunia: is the term for recurring pain in the genital area or within the pelvis during sexual intercourse. The pain can be sharp or intense. It can occur before, during, or after sexual intercourse. Dyspareunia is more common in women than men. It has many possible causes, but it can be through the following below.
What Causes Dyspareunia?
Several conditions can cause dyspareunia. For some women, it’s a sign of a physical problem. Other women may experience pain as a result of emotional factors.
Common physical causes of dyspareunia include:
(1) Vaginal dryness from menopause, childbirth, breastfeeding, medications, or too little arousal before intercourse
(2) Skin disorders that cause ulcers, cracks, itching, or burning
(3) Infections, such as yeast or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
(4) Injury or trauma from childbirth, an accident, an episiotomy, a hysterectomy, or pelvic surgery
(5) Vulvodynia, or pain centered in the vulva area
(6) Vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina
(7) Vaginismus, or a spontaneous tightening of the muscles of the vaginal wall
(10) Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
(11) Uterine fibroids
(12) Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
(13) Radiation and chemotherapy
Factors that reduce sexual desire or affect a person’s ability to become aroused can also cause dyspareunia.
These factors include:
(1) Stress, which can result in tightened muscles of the pelvic floor.
(2) Fear, guilt, or shame related to sex.
(3) Self-image or body issues.
(4) Medications such as birth control pills.
(5) Relationship problems.
(6) Conditions such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
(7) History of sexual abuse or rape.
Symptoms Of Dyspareunia
Dyspareunia pain can vary. Pain may occur:
(1) In the vagina, urethra, or bladder
(2) During penetration
(3) During or after intercourse
(4) Deep in the pelvis during intercourse
(5) After pain-free intercourse
(6) Only with specific partners or circumstances
(7) With tampon use
(8) Along with burning, itching, or aching
(9) With a feeling of stabbing pain, similar to menstrual cramps.
Who’s At Risk For Dyspareunia?
Both women and men can experience dyspareunia, but the condition is more common in women than men. Dyspareunia is one of the most common problems of postmenopausal women.
Around 75 percent of women have painful intercourse at some time. You’re at an increased risk if you:
• Take medications that cause vaginal dryness
• Have a viral or bacterial infection
• Are postmenopausal
How’s Dyspareunia Diagnosed?
Several tests help us identify and diagnose dyspareunia. We will start by creating a complete medical and sexual history. Possible questions we may ask you include:
1. When and where do you feel pain?
2. Which partners or positions cause pain?
3. Do any other activities cause pain?
4. Does your partner want to help?
5. Are there other conditions that may be contributing to your pain?
A pelvic examination is also common in diagnosis. During this procedure, we will look at the external and internal pelvic area for signs of:
• Inflammation or infection
• Anatomical problems
• Genital warts
• Abnormal masses.
The internal examination will require a speculum, a device used to view the vagina during a Pap test. We also may use a cotton swab to apply slight pressure to different areas of the vagina. This will help determine the location of the pain.
The initial examinations may lead us to request other tests, such as:
– Pelvic Ultrasound
– Culture test to check for bacteria or yeast infection
– Urine Test
– Allergy Test
– counseling to determine the presence of emotional causes