Dyspareunia is the medical word for painful intercourse, including painful symptoms that occur before, during, and after intercourse. Many women have deep aching sensations that persist for hours after having had intercourse. Some women with significant symptoms also may experience discomfort when using tampons. Dyspareunia affects millions of women, and fortunately, most women can find symptom relief with fairly simple, straightforward treatment options.
Dyspareunia can be caused by several underlying issues, including:
Before you receive treatment, Dr. Tureanu takes a thorough medical history and conducts exams and evaluations, including lab tests and a pelvic exam, to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms so your treatment can be focused on your needs. Depending on your specific symptoms, including the type of pain, how long it lasts, and where you feel pain, he also may order a pelvic ultrasound or other imaging tests to provide detailed images of your vagina, cervix, and other structures.
Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your painful symptoms. Many women with dyspareunia can find relief with hormone treatments to improve lubrication and elasticity in the vagina. Estrogen creams and gels can be applied directly to the vagina for targeted relief, while estrogen pills can be used for systemic estrogen therapy, which can be helpful in relieving other menopause-related symptoms as well.
If you opt for an estrogen-based treatment, you’ll have regular blood tests to make sure your treatment remains optimized for your needs. Other options include personal lubricants designed to be used prior to sex to help moisten the vagina and reduce painful friction.
If your symptoms have a psychological basis, counseling and therapy can be helpful, and some women find vaginal relaxation exercises or Kegel exercises can be helpful in improving vaginal elasticity and relieving pain.