When Sex Means Pain
September 9th, 2015
Yesterday, one of my good friends confided in me that she hadn't made love in a few months because it was too painful. Just so you know, she's been with her boyfriend for three years or so and this happened very suddenly. She had to see her doc and have some gynecological tests done. At the moment, she's waiting for her results.
After doing a little research on the topic, I discovered that many women suffer from dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is when a woman – or a man – has pain during sex. In medical jargon, we call that a symptom. This pain is therefore caused by a disease. In addition to STIs and known female infections, four other "diseases" are often at the source of dyspareunia.
One of the most frequent problems that causes dyspareunia is vaginismus: an involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles during penetration, therefore causing penetration to be quite difficult, even impossible. Some events can cause vaginismus, like pregnancy or sexual assault. It can even be caused by something more minor, like stress. The intensity of contractions – or pain – varies from one woman to the next: from a minor burning sensation to a ripping feeling or even impossible penetration. But don’t panic!! This problem can be treated easily. Kegel exercises are the most preferred way to relearn how to control the pelvic floor muscles. However, if you have been suffering from vaginismus for some time, you may need to have a physiotherapy treatment: we're talking perineal reeducation. But rest assured: 90% of cases are treated successfully!
The second problem that would cause a feeling of discomfort or pain during penetration is vestibulodynsis, better know as "vulvar vestibulitis." This disease is in fact the inflammation of the vestibule, you know, the skin between the labia minora? Little tip: don't go Googling the word vestibule when you're at work (quite a few pics of va-jay-jays will pop up on your screen!) :P Vestibulodynsis is barely visible: you only notice a bit of redness on the labia; however, the area is very painful to touch, making penetration or even a female exam unbearable. Once again, perineal reeducation can help fight this disease and in some cases, surgery – called vestibuloplasty – could be prescribed.
If you feel a burning sensation during sex and it's neither vaginismus nor vulvar vestibulitis, you could be suffering from vaginal dryness. Feminine lubrication varies a lot due to hormones (THANKS hormones) in connection to menopause, pregnancy, taking the pill or a lack of sexual excitement. To help you, use hypoallergenic and water-based lubricants.
Endometriosis can be at the source of deep pains during penetration. "But what does an endometriosis eat in the winter?!" you ask! Well! A little recap of our elementary school sex-ed class is in order. The endometrium is tissue that covers the inner lining of the uterus. Every month – at the start of the menstrual cycle – the woman's endometrium is eliminated in the form of menstrual blood if fertilization did NOT take place. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium tissue grows outside the uterus. And because this tissue is outside the uterus, it can't be eliminated (menses) and progressively grows. That's why endometriosis can cause "deep" pain during sex. This disease is pretty tough to detect and can make a woman infertile. However, there are several ways to treat it, including a pill that helps to regulate your hormones, or even surgery.
To wrap up here, it can also happen that allergies to condoms, lubricants or spermicides used can trigger a burning sensation at the vaginal entrance when you make love.
I hope I didn't freak you out too much! :P However, if you identify with certain symptoms, consult with a health professional who will be able to help you! Because EVERYONE is entitled to have a fulfilling sex life!
Do you know of any other sexual diseases related to dyspareunia?