Dyspareunia, or intercourse pain, needs to be addressed as soon as it arrises as it can cause problems in a couple’s relationship. There is a possibility of negative emotional effects, not just the more odvious physical pain during sex. There are many causes and treatments for these situations. So the question is, why it hurts to have sex?
Why Does It Hurt When I Have Sex?
1. Not Enough Arousal or Lubrication
Women may experience painful sex if there isn’t enough lubrication. If this happens the pain will be resolved when the woman is more aroused such as after foreplay or if the couple uses a lubricant.
Some reasons for dryness include low estrogen (after child bearing, from menopause or breastfeeding) or medications that are associated with lowered libido. These medications include antidepressants, sedatives, hormonal agents, antihypertensives, and antihistamines.
2. Stress and Tension
With all of life’s demands it can cloud your mind and you carry that tension with you, occasionally making it hard to get in the mood. It’s important to de-stress before you get intimate. Some have found that yoga or meditation/ mindfulness are great ways to de-stress before preparing for sex. These techniques relax both your mind and body. You don’t have to unwind alone, you can ask your partner to join. Yoga and massage are ways for couples to relax together as well as transition into intamacy.
3. Yeast Infection
A quarter of people who suffer from pain during sex have a yeast infection. A yeast infection can often be detected on your own but you do need to see your ob/gyn to confirm this fact. If it is the case, you will be prescribed medication to treat it. If you believe you have a yeast infection you may have some of the following sysmptoms:
- Red and irritated vagina after intercourse
- Genitals are itchy, inflamed and sensitive
- Cottage cheese like discharge
- Yeast odor
Aside from the prescribed medication there are other ways to seek relief. Itching and tenderness can be lessened with the use of an over-the-counter cortisone cream or Vagisil cream. Any type of feminine hygiene spray or scented sanitary products should also be avoided as they may cause skin irritation/rash.
4. Ovarian Cysts
An ovarian cyst is a fluid filled growth, it is responsible for pain in about 30% of premenopausal women. Most of these cysts disappear within two or three menstral cycles naturally and are harmless. Some of the symptoms you may experience are:
- A sharp or stabbing pain on one side of your pelvis during intercourse
- A dull ache during your period
Although they usually disappear on their own, have your doctor do an ultrasond to confirm the presence of cysts and be sure to check back within two months if you are still having painful sex. In the mean time, taking 400mg of ibuprofen an hour before intercourse as well as sexual postitions that allow you to control the depth of penetration, such as sex with you on top, may minimize some discomfort.
5. Uterine Fibroids
Benign lumps that grow on the uterus are called Uterine Fibroids. Some symptoms you may experience may include an urge to urinate, cramping, heavy periods and even painful sex, which makes you ask: why does it hurt when i have sex? Women with fibroids have reported symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain and/or lower back pain
- Bladder or rectum pressure
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or rectal pain
- Depending on the size of the fibroid, the stomach can become distended. People often mistake it for pregnancy
- During periods, bleeding may be heavier, longer or more frequent flow. Blood clots, spotting and even bleeding in between periods can be possible as well.
There are a few treatment options such as hormone therapy, birth control, pain medication and surgery. It’s best to discuss it with your healthcare professional.
6. Scar Tissue or Adhesions
Why does it hurt when I have sex? It could be from previous procedures. Whether from a surgery or previous infection, scar tissue can form between your abdominal organs and abdomen wall. These adhesions can cause pain when moving from one location to another.
When the tissue that lines the uterus starts growing in and around other areas of the reproductive system it is a condition known as Endometriosis. Scar tissue from a previous surgery or infection may be to blame, which can cause tissue to form between the abdominal walls and organs.This painful, cronic condition may tigger pain by moving organs from their normal place. Most common symptoms involved are:
- Difficulty getting or staying pregnant
- Bowel discomfort
- Pain in tops of legs, between hips, pelvis, tummy or lower back
- Pain during and after sex
When correctly identified, one treatment option is laparoscopic surgery. But often only after hormones or pain medication fail at letting you live a normal daily life.
Vaginisums is a condition that causes the vaginal muscles to spasm when penetration is attempted, often making for painful or even impossible intercourse. This condition in extreme cases can cause the muscles to contract so tightly that some women are unable to use tampons due to the vagina closing completely.
Distress, relationship problems, loss of confidence accompany this condition as well as preventing you from starting a family or even having a sex life. Sex therapy or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) may be recommended if the cause is psychological. Women have also found relief in treatments like Botox injections, which worked overnight to relax muscles, and streching exercises.
9. Allergic to Condom or Semen
After sex, if you experience a hivelike rash and/or itching in your vulva area, it is likely that you have an allergy and the latex condom is probably the culprit. In this instance, you have other protection options, probably due to this affecting up to an estimated 40,000 women in the US, such as natural lambskin or synthetic-rubber. When using these remember you are less protected against STDs. But if you didn’t include use of a condom there is a possiblitity that you’re actually allergic to your partner’s semen! There is a silver lining to this cloud as reports show that an increase in your lovemaking can help you out or you can just go the rainjacket route.
10. Other Causes
Some other reasons you may be having pain are: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Menopause, Ectopic Pregnancy, a recent birth or surgery.
If you are still asking yourself why does it hurt when I have sex, perhaps one of the following reasons can answer your question.
- Sexually transmitted diseases like genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, chlamydia and other stds have been known causes of painful sex.
- Genital trauma or surgery
- History of sexual abuse
- Psychological conditions
- Cervix problems
You may have several treatment options depending on what lies behind the pan. These can include medication, minor surgery, or therapy. Your medical provider can help determine what’s best.
All in all, if you are having an on going issue with vaginal drieness it’s in the best interest for you to seek the care of a medical professional. They will best be able to help you find a path to comfort, such as through the use of medications and estrogen creams. It may be the case that you need a refural to a certified sex counselor, especially if there is no underlying medical cause. Past abuse, guilt caused by this abuse and inner conflict regarding sex may need resolved. If you experience symptoms such as vaginal discharge or unexplained bleeding, irregular periods, involuntary muscle contractions or genital lesions address it with your health care professional. Now you may be better able to answer the question of, ‘why does it hurt when I have sex?’