Dyspareunia (Pain Disorder)

Painful intercourse can occur for a variety of reasons — ranging from physical problems to psychological concerns or both. Many women experience painful intercourse at some point in their lives. Some women may experience dyspareunia if intercourse is resumed after a time of no sex.

The medical term for painful intercourse is Dyspareunia which is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing painful intercourse. Treatments focus on the underlying cause, and can help eliminate or reduce this common problem.

Psychological factors such as unresolved guilt or anxiety about sex or the lingering effects of sexual trauma may also be involved. These factors may inhibit lubrication and cause involuntary contractions of the vaginal musculature, making penetration painful or uncomfortable. The prevalence of dyspareunia in women has been estimated at approximately 14% with significant variations across the lifespan. The highest prevalence is found in women 18-24 years of age.

DyspareuniaThree factors to Dyspareunia:

  1. Superficial Dyspareunia occurs with attempted penetration, usually secondary to anatomic conditions, or vaginismus.
  2. Vaginal Dyspareunia is pain related to friction (i.e., lubrication problems) including arousal disorders.
  3. Deep Dyspareunia is pain related to thrusting, often associated with pelvic disease. Treatment of the underlying etiology is fundamental, but as in long-term pain disorders, counseling and pain control strategies are essential.

If not addressed, it can set the stage for development or reinforcement of comorbid sexual dysfunction, damaging or avoidant behaviours, negative sexual attit6udes, self-esteem and mood issues and relationship discord.

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