As many as 3 in 4 women will experience painful intercourse at some time in their lives, making it a very common type of female sexual dysfunction. When pain with sex is a consistent problem, it has the power to disrupt your life, your self-esteem, and your relationship with your partner.
Painful intercourse might be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. At Vibrant Woman Health Center, Patricia Nevils, MD, and our team specialize in diagnosing the cause behind your discomfort. We work with you to find a treatment that helps you enjoy sex again.
Menopause and painful intercourse
Menopause is a biological transition that every woman goes through when her childbearing years are over. It typically begins when you reach your 40s or 50s, and symptoms of menopause can span nearly 10 years.
During menopause and the years leading up to it (perimenopause), estrogen and progesterone levels in your body naturally decline. These fluctuating hormone levels trigger menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
Changes in vaginal composition can alter the way sexual intercourse feels. Decreased lubrication and decreased sensation, coupled with low sex drive, can make sex unappealing and even painful for many women.
Other causes of painful intercourse
As you get older, natural menopausal changes are a top cause of painful intercourse — but they’re not the only possible cause. Pelvic pain can develop at any point in your life, and it could be caused by an underlying gynecologic condition.
Chronic pelvic pain ranges in severity, but it can affect your enjoyment of sex. Some women feel a constant, dull ache, while others experience sharp pangs of pain. Sometimes, pain only develops with sexual intercourse, while it’s a constant presence at other times.
With a comprehensive well-woman exam, Dr. Nevils and our team can assess your health. Some common causes of pelvic pain and discomfort with sex include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or abnormal menstrual periods.
Treatment can make sex enjoyable again
Sexual intercourse shouldn’t be painful. If you have pain with sex, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. Discussing sex with your doctor isn’t always easy, but it’s important to find and treat the cause of your discomfort.
Remember that Dr. Nevils and our team are here to help. Come to your appointment prepared to discuss your medical history, and don’t be embarrassed to talk openly about your symptoms.
In some cases, acute conditions like urinary tract infection or sexually transmitted disease can make sex painful, but these problems generally resolve with a round of antibiotics. Chronic gynecologic conditions like endometriosis or heavy periods may be managed with hormonal birth control.
If you’re going through perimenopause or menopause, our team offers a range of solutions designed to help manage your symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy with BioTE® pellets could help balance hormone levels and make sexual intercourse more comfortable.
If you can’t start hormone replacement therapy or simply don’t want that option, the O-Shot® could offer a solution. This treatment involves using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to increase vaginal comfort with a series of small injections.
Don’t suffer in silence. Our team at Vibrant Woman Health Center is here to help you understand the cause behind painful intercourse and recommend treatment options to help you enjoy your life.