Glossary On Painful Intercourse/ Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia or painful intercourse is described as persistent or recurrent pain associated with sexual contact. The pain may occur before, during or after intercourse and can lead to significant distress. An estimated 60% of all women suffer from painful intercourse at various times. This is one of those conditions whose incidence decreases as the woman gets older and more experienced.

Common causes of dyspareunia (painful intercourse) include:

Infection: Vaginal infections like yeast infection, trichomoniasis, genital herpes are the commonest culprits.

Vaginal irritation: Use of contraceptive foams, creams, jellies, condoms, diaphragms, etc, tend to irritate the sensitive vaginal mucosa leading to pain

Dryness of vagina: If penetration is attempted before sufficient lubrication occurs, the friction may lead to pain. Vaginal dryness can also be caused due to anxiety, menopause, etc.

Vaginismus: The woman experiences strong involuntary spasms of the vaginal muscles during sexual intercourse. It is a reflex state that occurs due to anxiety in most cases. Occasionally, the woman may be suffering from a less severe state of vaginal tightness that occurs at certain times only.

Chronic Pelvic Pain: Diseases like ovarian cysts, uterine fibroid / tumors, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases can lead to pain when there is deep, thrusting penetration. Even at other times, there can be a constant nagging pain that is felt in the pelvic region.

Vulvodynia: A chronic condition that presents as unexplained sharp or burning pain in vagina and vulva.

Pain in the clitoris: The clitoris being one of the most sensitive areas, is prone to develop pain

Psychological causes: Anxiety due to painful intercourse in the past, sexual abuse in the past, depression, stress, guilt, lack of attraction for partner, fear of pregnancy, etc.

Female Sexual Dysfunction