If you are experiencing painful sex, it may be an indication of a gynecologic problem. Ovarian cysts, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease are just a few examples of medical conditions that can lead to painful sex.
Providing your gynecologist with as much information about your pain as possible will help in determining a cause. Pain that occurs upon penetration could indicate a lack of lubrication, infection of the genital area or urinary tract or other vaginal problems. Deep pain or pain with specific positions is more likely due to conditions such as scarring after pelvic surgery, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and more.
Identifying a cause for the painful sex requires a thorough medical and sexual history. Your OBGYN will perform a physical exam that includes a pelvic exam and an ultrasound may also be recommended. If the cause still cannot be pinpointed, a laparoscopy procedure that allows your gynecologist to view the abdominal and female organs may be performed.
Treatment options depend on the cause of painful sex, but may include medication or desensitization therapy.
It is important to see your gynecologist if you are experiencing painful sex, but there are some steps you can take at home that may be helpful:
- Talk with your partner about your pain and try positions that are more comfortable
- Have sex when you are relaxed and well rested and allow time for foreplay to increase natural lubrication or use a water-soluble or silicone-based personal lubricant
- Empty your bladder before sex
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever or warm bath prior to sex
- Consider oral sex, mutual masturbation, or non-sexual ways to be intimate, if intercourse is too painful
Body image, sexual history and relationship problems all play a role in sexual pleasure and response. If no physical explanation for painful sex is found, counseling may be beneficial.