All about female dyspareunia: painful intercourse

Although sexual intercourse is a physically pleasurable, some people experience painful sexual activity or dyspareunia. Up to 8% of women are said to have gone through this unpleasant disease at some stage. The beginning of dyspareunia is a complex illness influenced by physical and psychological causes.

Dyspareunia women frequently experience shame and embarrassment, making it difficult for them to communicate with their partners. The origins, symptoms, and treatments of female dyspareunia, will all be covered in this article, along with suggestions for improving relationship communication and so much more. So with that being said, let’s continue reading.

Table of contents:

What is female dyspareunia?

What is Dyspareunia?

The term dyspareunia describes pain that is constant or recurrent during sexual activity. It can range from mild to severe and affect the vulva, vagina, or pelvic area. Physical, hormonal, and psychological reasons can all contribute to dyspareunia.

Physical Dyspareunia causes

Dyspareunia can have physical reasons such as pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor muscular spasms, endometriosis, vaginal infections, and pelvic infections. Involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, known as pelvic floor muscle spasms, can cause discomfort during sex.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that resembles the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus. This condition can lead to pain as well as inflammation during sexual activity. Female dyspareunia can also be brought on by vaginal infections, including bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. The weakening of the pelvic muscles that result in pelvic organ prolapse might hurt when having sex.

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Hormonal Dyspareunia causes

Menopause, decreased estrogen levels, as well as hormonal imbalances are just a few of the hormonal factors that can cause dyspareunia. Dryness of the vaginal tissue brought on by menopause may make sexual activity uncomfortable.

Decreased oestrogen levels can also shrink the vaginal tissue and create vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable. Dyspareunia can also be brought on by hormonal imbalances since these conditions can alter the body in ways that make sex painful.

Psychological Dyspareunia causes

Dyspareunia might have psychological factors such as sadness, anxiety, prior sexual trauma, as well as relationship problems. Both anxiety and depression can cause a reduction in arousal and sexual desire, which can result in pain during sex. Both past sexual trauma and relationship problems like a lack of trust or communication can make sexual activity painful.

Treatments for female dyspareunia

Does dyspareunia come in a variety of forms?

What kind of dyspareunia you are having can be determined by the location of the pain:

1. Infraorbital or superficial dyspareunia entry pain

During initial penetration, this pain is felt at the vaginal opening. Lack of lubricant, trauma, or infection is a few causes of entrance pain.

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2. Collision dyspareunia, or severe pain

This is a deep penetration ache that gets worse in some sexual positions. This discomfort will be felt in the lower abdomen or cervix. Sexual pain that is more intense is typically brought on by a medical condition or previous surgery.

Another way to categorise pain or female dyspareunia during sex is as major, secondary, complete, or situational:

  • Your current primary pain is the pain you’ve been experiencing since starting to engage in sexual activity.
  • After engaging in pain-free sex, secondary pain begins to manifest.
  • Full pain is when you experience discomfort during each sexual encounter.
  • Situational discomfort occurs only occasionally.
Meaning of female dyspareunia

Dyspareunia treatments

Depending on what is causing the pain, dyspareunia is treated differently. Physical therapy for the pelvic floor, medication, or surgery is possible therapies for physical causes. Physical treatment for the pelvic floor can assist in relaxing the muscles and increase their flexibility but also strength.

Anticonvulsants, as well as antidepressants, are two examples of drugs that can be used to relieve pain and lessen the muscular spasms brought on by dyspareunia. For some medical reasons of dyspareunia, such as pelvic organ prolapse as well as endometriosis, surgery may be advised.

Hormone replacement therapy or even other drugs may be used to treat hormonal reasons. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can lessen the signs and symptoms of menopause or low oestrogen levels by balancing the body’s hormones. Hormonal disorders that might cause collision dyspareunia can also be treated with other drugs.

Medication, couples therapy, as well as psychotherapy are possible therapies for psychological issues. Dyspareunia can have psychological causes, such as depression and anxiety, which can be treated by psychotherapy. Relationships therapy can aid in enhancing trust and communication between partners, which can aid in easing the discomfort brought on by dyspareunia. Furthermore, depression and anxiety can be treated with medications.

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How female dyspareunia develops

Why does dyspareunia occur?

If you already know dyspareunia meaning, then it is also important for you to learn what causes it. If there is insufficient vaginal lubrication, you may frequently feel pain during intercourse. In certain situations, the pain might be alleviated by increasing foreplay, relaxing more, or using a sexual lubricant. You may experience painful intercourse in various situations if one of the following circumstances exists:

1. Vaginal atrophy

The vaginal lining can become dry, thin, as well as inflammatory when it loses its typical moisture and thickness. Medication, menopause, and perhaps other hormonal changes may be to blame for this.

2. Vaginismus

The muscles of the vaginal region contract because of fear of injury or from past trauma.

3. Infections of the vagina

Yeast infections are among these widespread disorders.

4. Cervical (the entryway to the uterus) problems

When fully penetrated, the penis can reach the cervix. Hence, issues with the cervix (such infections) may result in discomfort after deep penetration.

5. Complications with the uterus

They might include fibroids, which can hurt deeply during intercourse. 

6. Endometriosis

A condition when the uterus lining tissue, the endometrium, spreads externally.

7. Ovaries-related issues

Among these issues could be ovarian cysts.

8. Inflammatory illness of the pelvis

The pressure of a sexual act creates severe inside inflammation as well as intense discomfort.

9. Ectopic conception

An unborn child whose fertilised egg grows outside the uterus.

10. Sex right after childbirth

Sexual activity too soon after a procedure or childbirth.

11. STIs: Sexually transmitted infections

Genital warts, herpes sores, or other STIs may be among them.

12. Vulvodynia

Causes vulvar soreness that lasts for a long time.

13. A vulva or vaginal injury

These wounds could be tears from childbirth or a cut (episiotomy) made during labor in the area of skin between the vagina and the anus.

14. Skin problems

Skin conditions that affect the genitalia.

Collision dyspareunia

How does collision dyspareunia feel?

The most typical symptom is pain during sex, especially at the pelvic floor or at the vaginal opening. It can be a definite discomfort in one location or spread throughout the entire genital area. There can be a scorching and perhaps even throbbing sensation from dyspareunia problems.

Can bleeding occur from female dyspareunia?

Not all cases of dyspareunia result in bleeding. Any bleeding that happens during sexual activity is probably brought on by the underlying medical condition. The same problem that is producing uncomfortable sex may also be the cause of the bleeding.

How long will it take to fully heal from dyspareunia?

The underlying reason for the discomfort you experience during sex affects how long it takes for dyspareunia to heal. The important thing is that you can recover from uncomfortable sex and rediscover comfort. Your healthcare professional can identify a course of treatment that can lessen or cure dyspareunia causes, whether it be medicine, therapy, surgery, as well as lubrication.

Strengthening partner communication

Couples must discuss dyspareunia openly and honestly. In addition to assisting in the development of successful treatments, talking about the issue can help to lessen the embarrassment as well as shame that can be attached to it. Since it can foster trust and understanding, open communication can also serve to strengthen the bond between spouses.

Couples should also be aware of the psychological and physical causes that can cause female dyspareunia. A couple can better comprehend the illness and how it impacts their relationship by knowing the physical as well as psychological causes.

Couples that share this perspective may be better able to cooperate to identify cures and work towards a meaningful and healthy sexual life.

Causes of female dyspareunia

How may dyspareunia symptoms be treated?

You can take certain steps on your own to control the discomfort you experience during or after sex, including:

  • To combat vaginal dryness, use a lubricant with a silicone or water base.
  • Try out some painless sexual moves and positions.
  • Before having sex, take an over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Before having sex, take some time to unwind and reduce your stress.
  • After sexual activity, apply cold packs to the vulva.

When to contact a specialist?

Although the first time may be difficult, sexual activity should never be painful. See your doctor if you suddenly start to have pain before, during, or after sexual activity. It’s critical to get help as soon as possible before you start to avoid sexual activity or experience anxiety before seeing your partner.

It is also worth mentioning that if you experience symptoms like new or increased pain during sex, bleeding, genital lesions, irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal discharge, as well as involuntary vaginal muscle spasms, get in touch with your doctor right away. Ask for a recommendation from a licensed sex counsellor or therapist if you are experiencing pain that has no obvious medical reason.

What inquiries should I make to my physician?

It can be challenging physically and mentally to engage in painful sexual activity. You could ask your healthcare professional the following queries:

  • What’s causing me discomfort?
  • What therapies are offered?
  • Do you have any suggestions for reducing my pain?
  • How soon can I expect to feel better?

Many physical conditions that can be treated or managed with appropriate medical treatment are the root of many causes of dyspareunia. However, therapy may be necessary to treat the symptoms in women who have had long-lasting dyspareunia or who have a history of sexual abuse, including trauma.

Symptoms of female dyspareunia


Physical or psychological factors can both contribute to the development of dyspareunia, which is a complicated disorder. Dyspareunia women frequently experience feelings of shame and embarrassment, which makes it difficult for them to communicate with their partners.

Depending on the underlying reason for the discomfort, the treatment for dyspareunia may involve pelvic floor physical therapy, hormone replacement therapy, psychotherapy, and/or medications.

To develop successful therapies and lessen the embarrassment and shame associated with the disease, it is also crucial to improve communication between couples. Couples can work together to identify a healthy and joyful sex life with the correct care and communication.