5 Common Causes of Painful Sex

March 18, 2015
Common Causes of Painful Sex

Are you experiencing painful sex? You’re not alone. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse affects as many as 45% of the 65 million menopausal and post-menopausal women in the United States. The medical term for this painful sex is dyspareunia. Your first step to relieving the pain you are experiencing during intercourse is to learn what is causing it. Depending on the cause, there are things you can do to alleviate the discomfort. Here are five common causes of painful sex:

1. Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is a real problem that affects millions of women of all ages. The effects of vaginal dryness can vary among women, ranging from minor to painful intercourse. Vaginal dryness can occur as a result of a number of things including, but not limited to:

  • Menopause
  • Cancer treatment
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Certain Medications
  • Childbirth
  • Breast-feeding

If you are experiencing vaginal dryness due to any of these causes, declining estrogen levels may be to blame. Vaginal dryness typically occurs when there is a decline in estrogen which can affect the amount or consistency of your vaginal moisture.

If vaginal dryness is causing painful sex, try Replens™ Silky Smooth Personal Lubricant. It is a premium silicone lubricant that lubricates to help enhance the ease and comfort of intimate sexual activity. Just apply a small amount of Replens Silky Smooth lubricant where additional lubrication is desired prior to or during sex.

If you are experiencing ongoing discomfort due to vaginal dryness, try Replens™ Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer. Replens Long-Lasting moisturizer delivers moisture for days, allowing you the freedom to be spontaneous any time. It provides immediate alleviation of dryness symptoms, leaving vaginal tissues hydrated and rejuvenated.

2. Vaginal Infections

So, vaginal dryness isn’t the issue? It may be time to pay your doctor a visit to see if you have an infection down there. Two common vaginal infections that could be causing pain include Yeast Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis. The more common of the two is Bacterial Vaginosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) may include a thin white or gray vaginal discharge, a bothersome “fishy odor”, itching, burning, and in some cases, painful sex. On the other hand, Yeast infection symptoms may include a thick white vaginal discharge, itching and burning in the vagina and around the vulva and possibly painful sex (Mayo Clinic).

If you think that the discomfort you are experiencing during intercourse is due to a vaginal infection, you should see your doctor. He or she may be able to provide you with a proper diagnosis.

3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Beyond vaginal dryness and vaginal infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) could be causing painful sex. Genital warts, herpes sores or other STDs could be to blame (WebMD). If there is a possibility that you could have an STD, visit your doctor to get tested. They may be able to determine if an STD if the reason for your discomfort. In general, it is important to get tested often if you are sexually active, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, since certain STDs can be hard to detect and may even cause more serious complications (Mayo Clinic).

4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

If you have ruled out infections, STDs and vaginal dryness, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can also cause painful sex. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) occurs when the “tissues deep inside become badly inflamed and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain” (WebMD). According to WebMD, more than 1 million US women experience an episode of PID each year, resulting in more than 100,000 women becoming infertile each year.

PID typically occurs when disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria from an STD, travel from the cervix to the upper genital tract (WebMD). For a proper diagnosis, see your doctor.

5. Vaginismus

A fifth possible cause for your painful sex may be vaginismus. Vaginismus is a common condition that involves involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall that can make attempts at penetration very painful (Mayo Clinic). Painful sex is often the first sign that a woman has vaginismus and while doctors don’t know exactly why it happens, it is “usually linked” to anxiety and fear of having sex (WebMD). Treatment options often include exercises focused on controlling and relaxing the muscles as well as therapy. We recommend visiting your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to learn about available treatment options.

There are additional causes for painful sex in women that we did not mention here. If you are experiencing painful sex that is not due to vaginal dryness, you should see a doctor. If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, try Replens™ Silky Smooth Personal Lubricant to alleviate the pain, or Replens™ Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer for continued moisture.

Vibrant Voice Ambassador at Replens
The Vibrant Voice Ambassador’s mission is to collect interesting stories and useful articles that are relevant for mature women.  Our goal is to help you maintain an active lifestyle - to Fifty and Beyond!
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