Pain during or after sex is known as dyspareunia. Although this problem can affect men also, it is more common in females. A female with dyspareunia may have pain in her vagina, clitoris, or labia. There are many causes of dyspareunia, most of which are treatable. Common causes of painful sex include-
- Vaginal dryness
- Atrophic vaginitis ( thinning of the vaginal lining in postmenopausal females)
- Side effects of drugs like antihistamines and tamoxifen
- Allergic reaction to fabrics, spermicides
- Vulvar vestibulitis (inflammation near vulva)
- Skin diseases, such as lichen sclerosus
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Psychological trauma, often from a history of trauma or sexual abuse
Home Remedies to treat pain during sex
Some ways to treat and manage vulvar and vaginal discomfort causing pain during sex include-
- Use Lubricants- Using lubricants can help reduce friction and pain during sex. Use a lubricant just before sex to prevent friction. You can also use a good, gentle moisturizer regularly, for longer-term relief. Avoid using oil-based lubricants with a condom as it can weaken latex so it should not be used with condoms.
- Sexual techniques- Extend foreplay which can increase the moisture in the vaginal tissues before sex. You can also try switching different positions during sex. In case of discomfort, it is important to communicate with your partner and talk about what does and does not feel good.
- Gentle vaginal and vulvar care- Wash your vagina and vulva with a mild soap or just plain water, and then gently pat dry. Avoid scented, multi-ingredient intimate products such as bubble bath, vaginal douches, and panty liners. Wear loose cotton clothing and always choose cotton underwear. Rinse your vaginal area with cool water after peeing. Maintain intimate hygiene.
How can you prevent pain during sex?
Although some causes of painful, such as a history of sexual abuse or trauma, cannot be avoided or fixed, other causes of dyspareunia can be prevented-
- To decrease the risk of yeast infection, avoid tight clothing, wear cotton underwear, and practice good intimate hygiene. Change your underwear after prolonged sweating. Take a bath or shower daily, and change into fresh, clean, dry clothing promptly after a swimming session.
- To avoid bladder infections, always wipe from front to back (anus to vagina) after pooping, and urinate before and after sexual intercourse.
- To avoid sexually transmitted diseases, avoid unprotected sex and practice safe sex, limit your sexual partners, and use condoms to protect against the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
- To prevent vaginal dryness, use a lubricant before sex, or get treatment if the dryness is due to other causes like another infection, menopause, cancer, or vaginitis.
- If you have endometriosis, you should avoid very deep penetration, or have sex i1 or 2 weeks after your menstruation (before ovulation), when the symptoms tend to be less painful.
Treatment of Painful sex
Medical treatment of dyspareunia will depend on the cause. If home remedies or lifestyle changes do not ease the condition and reduce pain during sex. Depending on the condition, the doctor may suggest the following treatment options-
- For vaginal yeast infections- Antifungal medication.
- For urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted diseases- Antibiotics
- For painful inflammation- Doctor may recommend sitz baths
- For skin diseases affecting the intimates, the treatment will vary as per the disease. For example, for lichen sclerosis and lichen planus steroid creams or laser treatment are suggested.
- For vulvar vestibulitis- Topical estrogen cream, low-dose pain medications, and physical therapy to lower muscle tension in the pelvic floor.
- For atrophic vaginitis- Estrogen therapy (vaginal formulation or as a pill).
- For endometriosis-Medication or surgery
When To Call Your Gynaecologist
Although sex may be uncomfortable the very first time, it is never supposed to be painful. If you suddenly start having pain before, during, or after sex, see your gynecologist. It is important to get early care. Book an appointment to seek a gynecologist’s advice or book an appointment online with our gynecologist.
Also Read- How to avoid pregnancy after sex naturally?