Valentin Tureanu, MD, NCMP
Reproductive Endocrinologist & Certified Menopause Practitioner located in Chicago, IL & Downers Grove, IL
Dyspareunia or painful intercourse is a common condition affecting millions of women, yet many women suffer in silence without knowing how common their condition is or how easily it can usually be treated. Dr. Valentin Tureanu is a skilled gynecologist with extensive experience diagnosing the cause of dyspareunia and treating it so women can find relief and enjoy healthier sex lives. If you experience painful symptoms during sex, call the office, or use our online system to request an office visit today.
What is dyspareunia?
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.
What causes dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia can be caused by several underlying issues, including:
- Hormonal changes, including changes that occur during menopause
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Sexually-transmitted infections or other types of infections
- Injury or irritation to the vagina or the tissues surrounding it
- Large ovarian cysts, fibroids, or endometriosis
- Vaginal spasms (a condition called vaginismus)
- Structural abnormalities like a shallow vagina
- Uterine prolapse
- Chronic stress
- Some medical treatments, including cancer treatments
How is dyspareunia diagnosed?
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.
What treatments are available to relieve the symptoms of dyspareunia?
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.
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