Causes of Painful Sex — And What May Help
1. Insufficient lubrication: Try a water-based lubricant to help. Allow time for arousal and foreplay before penetration. If you are menopausal, talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen creams.
2. Certain health conditions: If you have any of these conditions and sex is painful, talk to your doctor to discuss how you can make intercourse enjoyable.
- Bacterial vaginosis, herpes and gonorrhea
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Bladder infections
- Yeast infections
- Skin disorders such as contact dermatitis
- Episiotomy or tear in the perineum during childbirth
Quick Tip: Apply a frozen gel pack wrapped in a towel to the vulva after intercourse to relieve sexual pain.
3. Psychologic factors: Women who have had negative experiences, like sexual assault or rape, may have trouble getting into the act again. Try sexual therapy to help with these feelings. Communicating with your partner is the key to enjoying your time in the sack.
4. Relationship problems: Couples who are going through relationship challenges may have problems feeling sexually stimulated. Consider counseling or sex therapy to work through any of those feelings.
When to See Your Doctor
It’s not unusual for women to experience some level of pain or discomfort during intercourse, but pain that lingers after sex or anything that feels unusual may yield a trip to your doctor. It may signify more serious conditions. Abnormal discharge, itching or burning, lumps and bumps that are painful on the outside of the genitals should also be examined.
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