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Pain with Sex

 
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Dyspareunia is a sexual dysfunction where pain is experienced during, before, or after sex. It often leads to disruption of normal sexual activity and relationships problems. It can be a localized pain or general discomfort.

What else can it occur with? Often, Dyspareunia can be seen with chronic pelvic pain, IBS, urinary urgency, bowel urgency, or tampon discomfort. Only when symptoms are severe enough do we women seek medical treatment, but the actual number of women who experience it is unknown. It can be brought on by physical or psychological events.

Psychological causes can include: Sexual abuse during childhood, feelings of shame or guilt towards sex, and fear of intercourse or pain from first intercourse.

In addition, dyspareunia can be classified as being either superficial or deep, and whether it occurs all the time, or just with certain partners or situations.

What are common causes of superficial pain during sexual intercourse?

Vulvar pain (vulvodynia) may be described as a burning sensation or pain with penetration. It can be lifelong or develop with age. Some common causes are menopause, vulvar infection, lichen sclerosis and idiopathatic reasons.

Vaginismus is rare but is the involuntary spasm of the entryway muscles of the vagina from psychological stress.

What are some of the causes of deep pain during sexual intercourse?

Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) which can be pain of the pelvic floor muscles or related to Painful Bladder Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis.

Endometriosis- common symptoms include abnormal menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, premenstrual spotting, and sometimes infertility.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) if chronic. Pelvic scarring can cause the uterus to become fixed in place and lead to deep pain during sex.

Perineal Trauma from Chiildbirth occurs quite commonly and is often thought to be related to episiotomy. Approximately 90% of woman will have perineal pain after childbirth (which is expected), however, the painful sexual may not resolve for 4-6 months after vaginal delivery. This is not necessarily a sexual dysfunction as much as it is normal tissue recovery.

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For more information on vulvodynia and access to a physician list of doctors with expertise diagnosing and treating vulvodynia, go to the National Vulvodynia Association website at http://www.nva.org/

December 3, 2009 - 12:45pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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