Painful sex

Painful sex

In women

What causes painful sexual intercourse?

The medical term for painful sexual intercourse is dyspareunia and it is a common complaint — some women may feel occasional pain while others experience pain every time they have sex. Some discomfort is frequent when you first start having sex, when you start a new relationship and after having a baby. There are three main types of painful intercourse:

 

Pain on penetration or on touching the outer lips of the vagina

This can be caused by:

Pain on deep penile penetration

This can be caused by:

Pain after intercourse or orgasm

This can be caused by uterine contractions from orgasm, a vaginal infection or, in very rare cases, an allergy to semen.

How is painful sexual intercourse treated?

Explain your symptoms to your doctor and try to pin down the cause of the pain. You may be prescribed antibiotics for infections, steroid creams for the skin disorders or water-based lubricants (if lack of lubrication is the culprit). Oestrogen cream is very efficient for treating vaginal dryness after the menopause.

If your pain is caused by vaginismus, psychological factors may be involved and your doctor may recommend counselling. The recovery rate from vaginismus is very high.

Contrary to popular belief, painful sexual intercourse is usually caused by medical not psychological problems, it is quite common and it can be treated.

In men

What causes painful sexual intercourse?

Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)is less common in men than in women. There are three main types of painful intercourse:

Pain during intercourse

This can be caused by:

Pain at ejaculation

This can be caused by:

Pain at tip of penis after intercourse

This can be caused by:

How is painful sexual intercourse treated?

Explain our symptoms to your doctor and try to pin down the cause of the pain. You may be prescribed antibiotics for infection or creams for thrush or allergic reactions. Water-based lubricants may be helpful if lack of lubrication in your partner is the problem.

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