Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Dyspareunia - also known as painful intercourse - is recurrent or persistent pain from sexual activity, caused by biological or emotional factors. According to the American Family Physician, about 10% to 20% of U.S. women will experience dyspareunia at some point in their lifetime. 

Factors that can contribute to dyspareunia include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • A side effect from drugs such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, antihistamines, anti hypertensives, and allergy medications
  • Lack of arousal or lubrication
  • Low estrogen, as a result of postpartum, lactation, or menopause
  • Atrophic vaginitis
  • Endometriosis
  • Vulvar vestibulitis 
  • Psychological trauma
  • Past history of sexual abuse or trauma

Women with dyspareunia may experience superficial or deep pain. Symptoms include:

  • Pain only at sexual entry (penetration)
  • Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon
  • Deep pain during thrusting
  • Burning pain or aching pain
  • Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
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