Dyspareunia Treatment Specialist, Gynecologist in Queens Dr. Gohar
What is Dyspareunia?
Pain during sex is a very common problem and can occur for reasons that range from structural problems to psychological concerns. Many women have painful intercourse at some point in their lives. The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-nee-uh), defined as persistent or recurrent pelvic or genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse.
Both men and women can suffer from dyspareunia but it’s more common in women. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that up to 20 percent of women experience pelvic pain after or during sex. The causes are varied and could be physical or psychological. The key symptom is pain, which may lead to dissatisfaction and even loss of libido.
Odd Condition, Common Problem
A large subset of women also develops vaginal pain after child birth. As many as 60 percent of women complain about pain or burning after sex in the first six to seven weeks after childbirth. About 33 percent report pain after three months, with 17 percent experiencing pain even after six months. This is called postpartum dyspareunia. The causes can range from obstetric trauma, like a vaginal tear or an episiotomy, to estrogen deficiency or as a side effect of breastfeeding.
Dyspareunia is the term for the condition, but there are several physical states and diseases that can cause it. Your gynecologist in Queens, NYC can figure out the cause, depending on whether the pain occurs just before sex or if there’s pain after intercourse. The two categories of dyspareunia reflect when and where your pain occurs:
- Superficial pain means it occurs at entry or during sex in your outer vaginal area
- Deep pain means that you feel it further inside your vagina
The most common causes are vaginismus or spasms of the vaginal muscles, inadequate lubrication, atrophy, and vulvodynia, which is pain around the opening of your vagina. Sometimes, the cause isn’t known. Other, less common causes include:
- Endometriosis or adenomyosis
- Pelvic adhesions
- Adnexal pathology
- Retroverted uterus
- Pelvic relaxation
- Chronic cervicitis
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Pelvic Congestion
- Urethral or bladder disorders
Apart from the physiological or structural reasons, there have been many cases in which women who experience dyspareunia don’t have any physical problems. Sex hurts from psychological events such as abuse, rape, depression or stress. The trauma associated with these events can manifest as physical pain when attempting to engage in sexual intercourse.