Dyspareunia refers to pain during intercourse, and it’s a condition that can affect everyone, both women and men. When suffering from dyspareunia, pain can be felt either on specific areas or over the surface of the sexual organ: vulva or penis.
This pain can occur during penetration or thrusting, and women can feel it both on the entrance of their vagina or over the pelvic region.
There are no other symptoms of dyspareunia since it refers solely to sexual pain. This condition, however, can be a symptom of other afflictions, like STD’s, inflammation, endometriosis, or other issues related to sexuality.
So, while dyspareunia can be common and mostly harmless, it could signal a more serious condition. Luckily, these cases are rare, and dyspareunia often points towards common, treatable mild conditions.
There are many different causes of dyspareunia, and these can range from hormones to physical issues and even psychological factors.
A woman’s vagina can fail to generate enough moisture depending on different factors. If estrogen levels are low, like after menopause or during breastfeeding, the body can fail to produce enough vaginal fluids.
The lack of sexual arousal can also cause vaginal dryness, and hormone shifts can also lead to temporarily impaired libido.
Unfortunately, dyspareunia can hinder the sex drive because of the fear of pain, and this, in turn, also worsens the lubrication issues.
Physical injury to the sexual organs can occur as a result of vaginal dryness, over-vigorous sex, and masturbation, or direct trauma to these organs from fighting or activities like riding bikes or horses.
The most common forms of sexual injury are small tears on the walls of the vulva or inner foreskin. These can occur from too much friction and can cause stinging pain that may last for a few days.
Childbirth and circumcision are also common causes of dyspareunia.
Vaginismus refers to involuntary muscle contraction of the pelvic floor, and this can make a vagina extra tight and intercourse painful. Women with vaginismus can also experience the same pain or difficulty during gynecologist visits and even using tampons.
There are many factors that can cause this condition, and the solution is often either desensitization like Kegels or counseling, in case the cause is psychological.
Scar tissue can become very painful if it’s left untreated. Once you develop a scar, you should massage it often if you want to prevent pain associated with dyspareunia.
The most common cause for scarring around the genital area is surgery. This includes circumcision all the way to c-sections. After the cuts are stitched, scar tissue might form on the inside of the wound.
As per common knowledge, emotions are a huge influence on the quality of sexual encounters, and it’s very difficult to feel real arousal when stress levels are high or one suffers from depression.
As a result, the mental state of an individual plays a vital role in their pleasure, and issues like self-esteem problems, depression, and anxiety can cause dyspareunia during intercourse. Even regular stress from a particularly busy day can trigger an unpleasant night.
Finally, the emotional factor is one of the least worrisome in terms of health danger, but they can make dyspareunia a lot worse.
People can develop stress and general anxiety towards sexual intercourse if they associate it with pain. Therefore, dyspareunia from physical causes can trigger the same response from psychological reasons.
This means that physical factors can be treated, but if the person keeps feeling anxious about sex afterward, then dyspareunia could continue until this anxiety is treated.
With so many factors at play, the treatment for dyspareunia can vary greatly depending on what’s causing it.
If the problem is vaginal dryness, then focusing on the foreplay can greatly help solve the issue. However, if the problem is hormonal, then using a synthetic lubricant that’s water-based will be necessary.
For a more permanent solution, estrogen therapy can work excellently.
For infections, medication will be necessary. Yeast infection can be treated with topical creams, and bacterial infections require antibiotics. On the other hand, STI’s will require specific treatment for each condition, or just symptomatic treatment if there’s no cure for the disease.
For muscles tensing up, like vaginismus, relaxation and desensitization therapy will be necessary, like meditation and warm baths all the way to reverse Kegel exercises.
However, some causes may require surgery. The most common cases here are endometriosis, vaginal agenesis, fibroids, and any abnormal growth on the uterus or vulva.
If there are no obvious physical causes, or dyspareunia has lasted for years, it might be caused by anxiety and stress. These cases require counseling and therapy.
Luckily, if the cause is related to physical injury, like surgery or tearing, the condition will go away on its own after a few days.
How to prevent dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia is prevented by avoiding the causes.
You should wear clothes that allow for air circulation, coupled with good hygiene, to prevent yeast infections. This includes preventing moisture build-up by changing underwear after exercising.
The same goes for bladder infections. Urinating after having sex also keeps them at bay.
Always wear a condom to reduce the chances of STD’s and use lubrication or prioritize foreplay to avoid friction lesions.
With conditions like endometriosis, you should take sex slowly and prevent rough movements or uncomfortable positions.
Use natural aphrodisiacs like Spanish Fly Pro which helps in vaginal lubrication, the natural way. With no side effects, you get to benefit and enjoy sex. You get to experience increased libido, and in turn, higher sexual arousal.
If you are having a regular sex life you need to ensure that you don’t experience pain during intercourse. Natural aphrodisiacs can help, and you don’t even need a doctor’s prescription to get started.
- Dyspareunia and vaginismus: Review of the literature and treatment | https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11930-008-0008-7
- Evaluation and Treatment of Dyspareunia | https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2009/05000/Evaluation_and_Treatment_of_Dyspareunia.23.aspx
- Intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (prasterone), a highly efficient treatment of dyspareunia | https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13697137.2010.535226
- Painful Sexual Intercourse (Dyspareunia) | https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/painful-sexual-intercourse-dyspareunia-a-to-z
- Surgical versus medical treatment for endometriosis-associated severe deep dyspareunia: I. Effect on pain during intercourse and patient satisfaction | https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/27/12/3450/650476
- Vaginal Estrogens for the Treatment of Dyspareunia | https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609515334494