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Painful Intercourse

From the Intimacy After Hysterectomy Articles List

Painful intercourse after hysterectomyPain during intercourse (also referred to as dyspareunia) is defined as pain or discomfort in a woman's labial, vaginal, or pelvic areas during or after sexual intercourse.

There are many other reasons for painful intercourse, including Endometriosis, adhesions (scar tissue), interstitial cystitis (a bladder condition), and ovarian cysts. Infections also can cause discomfort at the vaginal opening. A weakening of the supporting structures such as a bladder prolapse (cystocele) or uterine prolapse can also cause discomfort or even pain during intercourse.

The top 5 leading causes of pain during intercourse are the following:

Hormones


Natural or surgical menopause can result in sexual discomfort due to hormonal changes. Decreasing levels of estrogen can dry up our bodies own natural lubrication and leave vaginal tissue dry and fragile. Over the counter lubricants often provide temporary relief. The use of an estrogen cream or other hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can provide a more permanent solution.

Vulvodynia


Vulvodynia is a condition in which part of the vulva is chronically inflamed. It can cause a burning pain at the opening of the vagina. It can often make intercourse near impossible due to the severity of pain experienced.

Cutting out certain foods has shown beneficial to many woman as has decreasing/controlling muscle spasms through the use of a biofeedback device, that may be contributing to the pain. As a last resort, surgery to remove the chronically inflamed skin has helped some woman but should be considered only after more conventional treatments have failed.

Interstitial Cystisis (IC)


A chronic inflammation of the bladder that can lead to severe pelvic pain. It is often described as feeling as if you have a UTI but antibiotics fail to provide relief.

The pain with this condition usually increases during intercourse.

There are variety of treatments and sufferers usually can find relief through one of them. Following an IC diet may provide relief, but unfortunately no single therapy seems to work for everyone.

Deep penetration often causes the discomfort with IC, avoiding this may help.

Endometriosis


A condition, that can be extremely painful, leaves tissue from the lining of the uterus to grow into other areas such as the vagina or pelvis where it becomes inflamed. Pain with intercourse is reported by more than half of the woman suffering this condition.

Birth control pills, drugs that temporarily suppress estrogen production or surgery to excise the tissue can often bring many relief. Some find that limiting intercourse to the week or two after your cycle may help minimize the discomfort.

Infection


Sometimes the first sign of an infection can be pain during intercourse. Natural lubrication can be reduced by yeast and bacterial infections. This can result in the irritation at the opening of the vagina, itching, unusual discharge or odor is usually accompanying. A urinary tract infection will hurt most when you urinate but can also cause pain during intercourse because of the pressure on a tender, inflamed bladder.

Once infections are diagnosed, most are easily treated with antibiotics, pills or with yeast an antifungal cream.

When to seek treatment


Any new or worsening pain, bleeding, or discharge following intercourse should always be reported to your health care provider.

Generally, pain with intercourse is not an emergency. It is a condition most appropriately checked by a group of specialists, including your Gyn.

Any of the following symptoms should be checked immediately at the nearest emergency room:
  • New onset of pain or pain more severe than previous episodes and that lasts more than just a few minutes
  • Any bleeding following pain, particularly new or severe pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or rectal pain following intercourse


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

06-22-2005 - 08:24 PM


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