Sex is supposed to be an “omg-this-feels-so-good” kind
of experience, not one that leaves you in agony. But according to The American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly three
out of four women experience pain during intercourse at some
point in their lives.
the pain is fleeting or chronic, it can be incredibly frustrating. What’s
worse, plenty of women just deal with it, rather than seek help, says obstetrician
and gynaecologist Dr Tami Prince. “But if you are experiencing pain during sex,
tell your doctor. Do not suffer in silence.”
if your doctor hasn’t been helpful regarding your pain in the past “find a
doctor you can really talk to that is nonjudgemental,” advises Dr Prince.
“Don’t hide information out of embarrassment. We are here for guidance, support
and treatment.” Ultimately, a good doctor can help you suss out if any of the
issues below are to blame.
1. A medical problem is getting in the way.
during sex is often prompted by a medical condition, says obstetrician and
gynaecologist Dr Draion Burch. One common issue: Vaginitis, or inflammation of
the vagina caused by a yeast infection or sexually transmitted disease (STD).
are also structural defects that cause pain and may ultimately require surgery,
such as a tilted uterus,” he notes.
in some cases, the pain may be caused by other “outlier conditions”
like endometriosis, bladder infections, ovarian cysts and uterine
fibroids, says Dr Prince.
your pain is caused by something like this, your doctor will be able to
recommend your best treatment option – whether it’s medication, surgery or
other strategies for managing symptoms.
Read more: Is vulvodynia the reason your vagina is burning like
2. Your hormones may be off.
may also have vaginal dryness caused by a drop in oestrogen levels due to
stress, medication, or menopause,” Dr Burch explains.
is what keeps your vagina nice and lubricated, so any drops in this hormone may
make it painful to have intercourse.
decrease in oestrogen can also be triggered by a hysterectomy (which often
leads to early menopause), radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, or surgical
removal of the ovaries.
this is the case, again, it’s crucial to see your doctor, who may recommend lifestyle
changes or even hormone replacement therapy.
3. You’re not lubing up.
underestimate the power of lube.
Even though your vagina naturally lubricates, whether it’s due to the
aforementioned medical reasons or otherwise, many women experience dryness down
there. The good news: Lube may help with your woes, says Dr Prince.
because, when you’re dry, it can cause friction between your vagina and your
partner’s penis, dildo, strap-on – whatever it may be.
Prince recommends choosing “a lubrication that is close to a natural pH balance
to avoid allergic reactions, and never use saliva or vaseline.”
4. You’re getting in the wrong positions.
sex is painful or uncomfortable, it may just be that the position you’re
choosing doesn’t feel great for you, Dr Prince says. She also notes that if
your partner has a curved penis, some positions may feel a little, well,
unpleasant. Every woman is different, therefore not every woman is going to
enjoy doggy style or cowgirl.
you find a certain sex
position isn’t making you feel great down there, try switching
it up. Prince recommends missionary and spoon, since patients have reported
these are the most comfortable.
Read more: These are the 3 symptoms of vaginismus, a painful sex
5. Your partner is… big.
the record: Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to penises.
Some women have trouble adjusting to a large penis, says Dr Prince. But that
doesn’t mean you need to ditch your partner just because they’re especially
well-endowed. If you suspect this may be the issue, try some of these sex positions for big penises.
6. You have unresolved sexual trauma.
may experience pain during sex due to fear of intercourse after sexual
assault,” says Dr Prince. In some cases, the psychological trauma can cause
your vaginal muscles to involuntary tighten or spasm during sex, which is
commonly referred to as vaginismus.
this is the case, Dr Prince refers clients to a psychiatrist, or recommends
“biofeedback to retrain their vaginal muscles”, she says. “I also give my
patients vaginal dilators to practice with at home.”
7. Your relationship isn’t working for you.
women, sexual arousal starts with the brain,” explains Dr Burch. “If there is
poor communication, or they are being demeaned in any way by their partner,
they are not likely to have enjoyable sex.”
if there’s trouble in your relationship, Dr Burch recommends seeking couples’
counselling, to address any issues outside of the bedroom, first.
Read more: These 2 treatments will change your life if you
experience painful sex
8. You have old-school hygiene practices.
women are taught to douche and use feminine wipes,” says Dr Burch. But this may
be causing your pain during sex, as it can lead to bacterial vaginosis” or
inflammation caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina, he
if the long-term solution is as simple as changing your grooming habits,
medical intervention may be necessary. “It is not always an instant fix, so do
not self-medicate,” he advises. “See a doctor.”
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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