Dyspareunia is the term that specifically relates to a feeling of pain during or after sexual intercourse.

Dyspareunia is extremely common amongst women who have pelvic pain. The underlying cause will vary between women and the treatment can be frustrating and time consuming and may require a multifaceted treatment approach.

Common causes of dyspareunia include:

  • Menopause
  • Anxiety
  • Postural issues
  • Muscle spasms
  • Lichen Sclerosus
  • Sjoogren’s Syndrome
  • Cancer treatment
  • Cysts, genital warts, herpes, or other such lesions or abrasions within the vulva or vagina
  • Scarring from childbirth, episiotomy (an incision made by surgeons to facilitate birth), laceration repair or other vaginal surgery
  • Cystitis or other urinary tract infections
  • Resuming intercourse after a prolonged period of abstinence
  • Irritation or allergy to some moisturisers, lubricants, spermicidal creams or gels
  • Breast-feeding can lead to vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Descent of the uterus (prolapse)
  • Psychological factors

Diagnosing dyspareunia

Establishing a dyspareunia diagnose involves a physical examination and the acknowledgement of symptoms resulting from medical and sexual history. It is important to give the therapist details such as the exact location, length, timing, and frequency of the pain, for him/her to establish various details and whether previous intercourse was painful as well.

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