Painful sex is a symptom of many maladies
Submitted by: Marc C. Gittelman, M.D.
Submitted on: September 13, 2005
Q: I have pain during sexual relations. Is there something wrong?
A: About 15 percent of women have pain on sexual relations. It can be as simple as a lack of vaginal lubrication or a vaginal infection, or it can be as complicated as a severe gynecological problem. The pain might start only after menopause or it could be a problem at certain times of the cycle. The pain may be just at the entrance to the vagina or may be deep in the pelvis. Some women may have other gynecologic problems or hormonal problems that contribute to dryness.
For some women pain with sex may be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease, and for others it could be as simple as a yeast infection after taking a week of antibiotics. Although painful sex can be due to lack of lubrication because of a physical issue, it can often be psychological and perhaps a sign of stress, or even relationship problems. For others it could be the inability to become sexually aroused in certain circumstances.
Many women who suffer with painful sex may avoid having relations. They may not feel comfortable talking about it with their loved one or even their doctor. But because the range of possible problems and issues is so broad, it makes good sense to speak with your gynecologist or general physician. It may turn out to be something complicated, but it could be something simple. Hopefully the best possible outcome is that you have a good checkup and some simple answers to help you move on to better and more enjoyable sex.