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
- Uterine fibroids
- 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.
Look for the Symptoms
The characteristic symptom is pain, but discomfort can also manifest in burning, itching, irritation or a dull ache. Pain can range from moderate to severe. It can be in a bigger area or localized in a specific area. Some common characteristics include:
- Pain only at entry or during penetration
- Pain at every entry, including intercourse and tampon use
- New pain after previously pain-free intercourse
- Deep pain during thrusting
- Burning or aching pain
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
- Aching, burning, throbbing or ripping
- Pain during sex
- Pain after sex
- Burning after sex
- Pelvic pain after sex
- Vaginal burning after sex
- Cervical pain during sex
Because there’s only one hallmark symptom, namely pain, knowing the characteristics of your pain helps determine the cause. Knowing the cause helps your doctor make a quick diagnosis and prescribe treatment that lets you get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
Reaching a Diagnosis
Whether you’re in Rego Park or Forest Hills, New York, the best gynecologists in Queens that are part of the Forest Hills Medical Services can diagnose and treat your condition.
Your doctor reaches a diagnosis of dyspareunia through a thorough history, examination and relevant tests. Knowing when your pain started and where you feel it gives your gynecologist clues about your condition. Other information — about medications, habits, treatments or surgeries you’ve had — paint a clearer picture. Tests can range from blood tests to ultrasounds. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other causes.
If Sex Hurts, Get Help
Talk to your doctor if you’re having painful intercourse. Treatments focus on the cause, and can help eliminate or lessen this common problem. Your gynecologist in Queens, NYC has answers when sex hurts, your vagina burns after sex or you experience internal vaginal pain during intercourse. Visit your local gynecology practice in Forest Hills or Rego Park, Queens to discuss the various dyspareunia treatments available for painful sex.
Dyspareunia treatment options range from exercises and counseling to estrogen therapy and surgery. If the cause is infectious or related to atrophy, the proper medication can resolve these issues. For issues with structural deformity, cysts, or fibroids, a nonsurgical procedures such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) or minimally invasive surgery may be an option. For dyspareunia caused by improper practice, relevant information and a change in habits may be the key. And in cases where psychological issues cause pain during sex, counseling, along with proper pharmacotherapy, can help.
Managing your symptoms is just as important as curing the underlying cause. Your pain and discomfort can be alleviated by medication, exercises and even temporary abstinence.
Forest Hills Medical Services is a comprehensive clinical practice. In our office we believe that how you are treated is just as important as the medical care we provide. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality obstetrics and gynecology with warmth and compassion. Our physicians are easy to talk to and our entire staff is friendly and attentive to your needs.
The best gynecologists in Queens who are part of the Forest Hills Medical Services team are renowned for their extensive skills in diagnosing and treating dyspareunia and a variety of conditions that can lead to painful sex.
We will listen to all your concerns and together we will come up with the treatment plan that works for you and your unique circumstances.
Call FHMS to meet our staff in our state-of-the-art offices and be heard.
Gynecologists Dr. James Gohar (OBGYN Doctor), Dr Nithya Gopal and Maris Huffman, NP
Forest Hills Medical Services
108-16 63rd Rd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
☎ (718) 897-5331