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Painful Intercourse for Women

There are many causes of painful intercourse (dyspareunia), a common problem for women.

The pain isn’t the same for all women, of course. One woman may feel pain when her partner starts to penetrate her. Another may have pain with deep penetration or with certain sexual positions. Some women only have pain with certain partners. Some have pain after having comfortable sex for years.

Possible causes include:

·         Poor lubrication. For example, women going through menopause may not be lubricated enough for comfortable intercourse. Women may also need more foreplay to become more lubricated.

·         Inflammation or infection. Urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and eczema can cause pain.

·         Allergies. Some women are allergic to soaps, feminine hygiene products, latex condoms, or foams used for birth control.

·         Poorly-fitted birth control devices. There might be a problem with a diaphragm or a cervical cap.

·         Medical conditions. Ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause painful intercourse. A woman may also experience pain if she has had recent pelvic surgery or an injury.

·         Emotional issues. Fear of sex may trigger expectations of pain. Also, past sexual trauma and abuse can contribute to painful intercourse later in life.

·         Vaginismus. Involuntary spasms of the vaginal walls can make penetration impossible.

Many women are reluctant to discuss painful intercourse with their partners or doctors. But it’s best to start the conversation, as there are many treatments available that can help women enjoy satisfying sex lives.