Painful Sex in Women – (Female Dyspareunia)

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Dr Aparna N
Painful Sex in Women – (Female Dyspareunia)

Dyspareunia is often known as genital pain in women, during or after sexual intercourse. It is a prevalent condition that can have adverse emotional and psychological effects, especially in women. In addition to the physical pain, both the male and female partners may lose intimacy or experience difficulties building rapport in their relationship. Doctors usually recommend the right treatments based on your symptoms and analyze the underlying cause of your pain. Pain during sex is more prominent in women. However, it can affect both men (male dyspareunia) and women (female dyspareunia) of all age groups. In most cases, the condition is due to physical or medical factors, but it can also be psychological to a great extent. The pain may be distinct and localized, or there may be a broader sense of discomfort. There is an aching, burning, throbbing, or ripping sensation, and it could also be a result of dissatisfaction with or disinterest in intercourse.

Causes of Dyspareunia

• Infections (such as a yeast Infection or urinary tract infection).

• Vaginal injury and vaginal inflammation.

• Badly fitted diaphragm or cervical cap. (Birth control methods)

• Muscle spasms around the vagina. For some women, the pain of the cramps is so severe that sexual intercourse is impossible or annoying.

• Vaginal dryness. Menopause and a drop in estrogen hormone levels may result in vaginal dryness. It could also be due to the lack of foreplay before intercourse.

• Ovary-related conditions or infections.

• Scarring caused by past surgeries.

• Endometriosis & uterine abnormalities

• Pelvic inflammatory disease.

• Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem are common psychological causes that can prevent sexual arousal.

How is dyspareunia treated?

Some treatments for dyspareunia do not need medical assistance. For example, if there’s pain during intercourse after pregnancy, wait at least six weeks after delivery before having intercourse. Make sure to be gentle and patient. In case of vaginal dryness, trying lubricants can help ease the pain. In other instances, sexual pain may require medication. If menopause is the reason behind vaginal dryness, ask your doctor about creams, tablets, or other medicines. When there’s no underlying medical cause for the sexual discomfort, seeking sexual therapy might be helpful. In rare cases, if you feel that there’s a need to resolve guilt, inner conflicts, or anything psychological, never hesitate to discuss it with your counsellor and find a solution to overcome this phase.

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