Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Dyspareunia is pain in the vagina when the penis is inserted during sexual intercourse.
What is going on in the body?
Pain during sexual intercourse can be upsetting. The cause of the pain may be hard to find. There might be physical and psychological causes.
Physical causes may be within the female reproductive tract, including the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries and abdominal cavity.
Some women may assume that sex will be painful. Or they might associate menstruation and childbirth with pain. Even when no physical causes are found and the pain is gone, the memory of the pain may persist. This can interfere with pleasure. The range of physical and psychological factors that prevent a woman from enjoying a sexual relationship should be considered.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Complications involving the vaginal opening that can cause dyspareunia can include:
Complications involving the clitoris can include:
Complications involving the vagina can include:
Complications involving the uterus and Fallopian tubes leading to the ovaries can include:
Complications involving the ovaries can include:
Psychological complications can include a history of:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
Dyspareunia may be divided into two categories, superficial and deep. Superficial means that there is immediate pain at the opening of the vagina when a man attempts to insert the penis. The most likely reasons for this are tears, infections or structural defects of the vulva or vagina.
Deep dyspareunia means that there is pelvic pain or discomfort after penetration of the penis. This is usually associated with deep thrusting. The likely causes are abnormalities of the deeper structures of the vagina.Typical symptoms include:
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the condition diagnosed?
A medical history and pelvic examination will help to determine the cause of dyspareunia. The following tests or procedures may be used:
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the condition?
Prevention depends on the cause. Using safer sex practices will prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted disease (STDs). This may prevent other complications. Sensitivity foreplay and patience will allow for more vaginal lubrication. If estrogen levels are low, estrogen supplements may help. Psychological causes for sexual inhibitions should be explored and treated.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
The long-term effects rely on breaking or preventing a cycle of pain, negative memories, and avoiding sex. This cycle may destroy a sexually intimate relationship.
If other physical problems exist, diagnosis and treatment may prevent long-term complications.
What are the risks to others?
Dyspareunia is not a contagious condition. If the cause of dyspareunia is an untreated STD, there is a risk of spreading the disease to a partner.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the condition?
Sensitivity, foreplay and patience from the sexual partner will allow for more lubrication of the vagina. If estrogen deficiency is the cause vaginal estrogen creams, such as
Endometriosis is treated with birth control pills,
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects depend upon the treatment used. Oral contraceptives and progestins may cause nausea, abdominal bloating, weight gain and swelling. Antibiotics have individual side effects. Gonadotropin agonists may cause hot flashes, headaches, lack of menstrual periods and mood swings.
How is the condition monitored?
The healthcare provider must be patient and explain the many causes of dyspareunia. The treatment options must be made clear. If there are no physical causes, a psychological reason should be explored. Reasons may include previous sexual abuse, confusion over sexual preference and desire, dissatisfaction with the relationship and depression.
Article type: xmedgeneral