Dyspareunia - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Sex is a pleasureful act. But sometimes it can cause pain- a condition known as dyspareunia. It can occur due to various reasons and often they are treatable. Seldom it occurs due to an untreatable reason. Pain can occur either during or after sex. Sometimes changing positions can also help get rid of it. The healthcare providers focus on treating the underlying cause. 


Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs


The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.

The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.


Symptoms 


The symptoms of painful sex can be;


  • A sense of pain that occurs on the penetration of the penis

  • Pain while penetrating anything, either penis or a tampon

  • Deep pain during thrusting

  • Burning pain in the vagina

  • Aching pain in the vagina

  • Throbbing pain that hours after intercourse


Causes 


Lubrication-Vagina, when not lubricated, can cause pain. It also happens when women reaching menopause have a dry vagina due to low levels of estrogen. Lubricating the vagina properly with lube can help get rid of it.


Taking certain medications like antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines, and certain birth control pills.


Having an injury in the pelvis or pelvic inflammatory disease


An episiotomy is done during childbirth to let the child out of the birth canal


  • Female circumcision 

  • Inflammation of the genitals

  • Eczema on the genital region


Vaginismus- a condition in which the muscles of the vagina contract involuntarily and do not let enter anything. It can also occur due to stress and anxiety. Seeking psychological advice can help get rid of it.


Congenital abnormality when the vagina is improperly developed- a condition called vaginal agenesis or development of a membrane that blocks the vaginal opening- a condition called the imperforate hymen. 


Certain Health Conditions like;


  • Endometriosis

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Uterine prolapse

  • Retroverted uterus

  • Uterine fibroids

  • Cystitis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

  • Adenomyosis

  • Hemorrhoids  

  • Ovarian cysts


Emotional factors that can cause pain during sex are;


  • Stress and anxiety

  • Psychological issues that do not let you arouse

  • Having a history of sexual abuse


Prevention 


To prevent pain during sex the following tips can help;


  • If vaginal dryness is a problem, try to lubricate the vagina with a lube

  • For vaginal yeast apply antifungal cream in the vagina or take oral antifungals

  • If it occurs due to a sexually transmitted disease, take antibiotics

  • Try sitting in the bathtub in a lukewarm water

  • Take a pain reliever before or after sex

  • For valvular vestibulitis low dose, topical therapy can also help



Conclusion 


Dyspareunia is a condition in which pain occurs during or after sex. It can occur due to various reasons and often they are treatable. Seldom it occurs due to an untreatable reason. Pain can occur either during or after sex. Sometimes changing positions can also help get rid of it. The healthcare providers focus on treating the underlying cause. 


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