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Painful sex is not normal and needs attention, says Dr Niveditha Manokaran

Published on:20 July 2021, 11:49am IST
If you suffer from recurring pain in the genital area or within the pelvis during sexual intercourse in females, it is a sign that you have dyspareunia. Read on to know more.
Geetika Sachdev
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signs of a healthy vagina
Painful sex is not a good sign. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Have you ever experienced pain after having sex? If it’s occasional, we understand. But what if it’s something you face often? Then that’s a cause for alarm. You could be suffering from dyspareunia or what we call recurring pain in the genital area during sexual intercourse, informs Dr Nivedhita Manokaran aka dr_nive_taboos. 

The pain can be sharp or intense, and can occur before or after sexual intercourse. What’s more, it is more commonly seen in women. 

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So, what are its symptoms?
  • Pain only at sexual entry 
  • Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon 
  • Deep pain during thrusting 
  • Burning pain or aching pain 
  • Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
Causes

When it comes to the various, Dr Manokaran mentions a few significant ones. 

For most people, there’s entry pain, which is primarily due to lack of adequate lubrication. There are certain medications that are known to affect sexual desire or arousal, which can decrease lubrication and make sex painful. Some other reasons include injury, trauma or irritation, inflammation, infection or skin disorder. In  extreme cases, it could be because of vaginismus or congenital abnormality. 

Painful Sex
There are various reasons which can make sex painful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There are others who experience pain with deep penetration, which might be worse in certain positions. The causes include certain illnesses and conditions like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse, retroverted uterus, uterine fibroids, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction, adenomyosis, hemorrhoids, and ovarian cysts. It could also be due to surgeries or medical treatments. 

It’s not just physical but emotional factors too that could cause this pain. This could range from issues like anxiety, depression, concerns about physical appearance, fear of intimacy or relationship problems can contribute to a low level of arousal and a resulting discomfort or pain. 

Stress is another factor that can tighten your pelvic floor muscles, and this can contribute to pain during intercourse. 

Not everyone with dyspareunia has a history of sexual abuse, but if you have been abused, it can play a role. 

Treatment

It is important to consult a doctor and psychologist to help identify the cause for such a response and to heal from it. There are several exercises and techniques that gradually help the pelvic muscles to relax. 

Things to remember

– Diagnosis is made by a doctor

Pain in your vulva/vagina/during or after sex is not normal 

– It is not uncommon 

– You are not alone in this 

– There are many treatment options available 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.