Experiencing pain during sex happens to many women at some point in their lives. Known as dyspareunia, causes may be physical or emotional and may happen at any point during your life, but the changes of menopause or other hormonal events may be the most frequent contributor. The women’s care professionals at Suburban OB/GYN in St. Louis, Missouri, can help you overcome the symptoms of dyspareunia so you can enjoy sex once again. Call or click to make your appointment today.
A general term describing pain during intercourse, dyspareunia is not a single condition. Pain arising from physical reasons may include pain during entry or deeper pain that may be associated with deep penetration or certain positions.
Dyspareunia may result from emotional conditions such as stress, mood disorders, or in reaction to trauma. As with erectile dysfunction in men, sometimes the physical and mental aspects of dyspareunia may mix, causing a self-sustaining condition that’s difficult to treat.
Generally, though, hormone changes affect vaginal conditions. Menopause, for example, greatly reduces the amount of estrogen your body produces, and this hormone is key to the systems of sexual function. In particular, you may notice that your body no longer produces adequate lubrication during arousal, or that arousal itself takes on a different pattern. This alone can lead to less pleasurable and even painful intercourse.
If you’ve previously had no problems with pain during intercourse and you start to experience discomfort, you’re experiencing the onset of dyspareunia. Your symptoms may include:
Any of these symptoms may occur, alone or together. New symptoms that persist are a sign it’s time to make an appointment with Suburban OB/GYN.
Treatment depends on your diagnosis.. For example, if you’re suffering from endometriosis, it may cause pain during intercourse that disappears once the endometriosis is treated. Similarly, emotional factors may require counseling before you can relax sufficiently to ease pain during sex.
If you’re approaching or in menopause, topical hormone treatments or hormone replacement therapy may restore more normal vaginal response, including adequate lubrication. Suburban OB/GYN offer both bioidentical and non-bioidentical hormone options.
Vaginal moisturizers may be enough for some cases, and a medication called ospemifene has received Food and Drug Administration approval for the nonhormonal treatment of dyspareunia.