An interview with Senior Gynaecologist Dr Aparna Srivastav. She answers questions about “pain during sex” or “dyspareunia” . A common problem that women choose to live with but is easily cured !!
Question 1. What is painful sex?
Answer: Painful sex or intercourse pain is also termed as Dyspareunia, it sometimes causes problems in a couple’s sexual relationship.
Question 2. What causes painful sex in women?
Answer: Painful sex occurs because of
- Vaginal dryness
- Fear of intimacy
- History of sexual abuse
- Uncontrolled spasm in vaginal muscles, due to fear of pain
- Intercourse immediately after child birth
- Infections in vagina like yeast infections
- Infection at cervix (Opening of Uterus)
- Cyst on ovaries
- Fibroids in Uterus
- Pregnancy (Ectopic Pregnancy in which fertilized egg develops outside uterus)
- Certain illnesses like Hemorrhoids, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Stress, anxiety, depression about physical appearance
Question 3. What are the symptoms?
Answer: Women experiences pain which could be deep burning/aching/throbbing, with every penetration and it lasts for hours after intercourse.
Question 4. How is Dyspareunia diagnosed?
- The doctor will investigate about your medical history, sexual history, surgical history and previous child birth experiences
- After taking history, there will be a pelvic examination to look at the possibility of any skin infection or inflammation
- Sometimes, a visual exam of vagina using instrument is also done
Rarely, a pelvic ultrasound is suggested to rule out any anatomical defect
Question 5. How can painful sex be treated?
Answer: Treatment can be done, based on the cause of pain:-
- In case of infection/inflammation, medications can be prescribed
- Keeping vagina lubricated by applying water-based lubricants
- Waiting for six weeks after childbirth to prevent painful sex after pregnancy
- Using estrogen creams during early menopause phase
- Taking oral drugs to increase vaginal lubrication
- Exercising or taking therapies for vaginal relaxation
- Counseling or sex therapy for resolving physical and mental pain
- Changing lifestyle
- Changing sexual routine can help minimize pain, sometimes changing position helps. It is important to communicate to your partner, during sexual activity
Question 6. Do I need to worry?
Answer: No, painful sex is a common problem but it is important to talk to your doctor about it. In case of burning, discharge, or if there is any genital lesion, you should report to your doctor immediately.
Senior Consultant: Dr. Aparana Srivastava
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