Many women suffer from painful intercourse leaving them unwilling to have sex. Rest assured, as research shows, you’re not alone. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Pain during intercourse is very common with nearly 3 out of 4 women having pain during intercourse at some time during their lives." One of the causes of this pain could be endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a painful condition which affects more than six million women in the United States. It occurs when tissue meant for the uterine lining starts growing outside of the uterus in the pelvic area and around surrounding organs. This typically results in pelvic pain. One of the side effects of this problem is pain during sexual intercourse.
According to endometriosis.org, “The pain of painful intercourse has been described as sharp, stabbing, jabbing or a deep ache for the woman. It ranges in intensity from mild to excruciating. It may be felt during intercourse, for up to 24–48 hours after intercourse, or both.” In the case of endometriosis, “The tissues are already inflamed causing even more pain as contact with a partner’s penis can only exasperate the pain. Endometriosis can also result in ovarian cysts, which can also contribute to pain during intercourse.”
Research shows that the added stress placed on the endometriosis tissue by intercourse causes the pain. “Painful intercourse is usually caused by stretching and pulling of endometrial implants and nodules located behind the vagina and lower uterus.”
This extra build-up of uterine tissue forms pockets in the pelvic cavity that can cause pain during sex. The clinical term for pain during intercourse is known as dyspareunia. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), “Dyspareunia, which signifies painful or difficult intercourse, is a not infrequent disturbance. It has wrought havoc in many marriages and, even if of minor degree, has caused unhappiness and discomfort.”
Experts agree there are several steps to take in dealing with this issue both on a clinical and emotional level.