If sex is more painful than pleasurable, you’re likely very frustrated. It’s difficult to enjoy intercourse when you’re experiencing pain. There are several reasons why sex may be painful, but, fortunately, many of them are fixable.
In many cases, painful sex can be resolved easily, while in others, it might take a bit more effort. Dr. Ruchir Thakkar of Cermak Immediate Care with locations in Cicero, Roseland, Little Village, and North Lawndale, Illinois, explains more about this important issue concerning women’s health.
If you’re in perimenopause (the time leading up to your last period, which can last 4-10 years) or menopause, your hormones may fluctuate. Sometimes, one of the symptoms of fluctuating hormones is vaginal dryness. As you might expect, this can make intercourse very uncomfortable or even painful.
In the short term, you can help overcome vaginal dryness by using a water-based lubricant and making sure you engage in plenty of foreplay. However, some women may do better with hormone replacement therapy.
Sexually-transmitted infections or STIs can also cause painful sex. Some women don’t know they have an STI because many of them can be symptomless. However, if you’ve had sex without experiencing pain previously but you now feel pain, it’s a good idea to get tested.
All men and women who are sexually active should get regular testing for STIs, especially if you’re having sex with more than one partner.
Vaginitis can refer to many different conditions which can make sex painful. Among these include common yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. While these particular conditions typically clear up with a course of treatment, some cases of vaginitis may be caused by other conditions.
Vaginitis usually occurs when your vagina’s pH level is outside the norm. This can be caused by STIs or common infections. Symptoms of vaginitis include the following:
- Irritation or itchiness
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Painful urination
In addition to the above symptoms, it’s also not uncommon to experience painful sex.
Previous sexual abuse or trauma
Unfortunately, far too many women are victims of sexual abuse or trauma. If you have experienced a situation like this, you may have more painful sex.
If either has happened to you, you may benefit from speaking with a counselor who is trained in helping with these issues.
Certain illnesses or health conditions
Sometimes, you may have certain illnesses or health conditions that cause painful sex. These conditions include the following:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Uterine prolapse
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
If you have any of these conditions, they may be correctable. Talk to Dr. Thakkar to find out if you need a referral to a gynecologist for further testing and treatment.
Painful intercourse isn’t something you have to live with. Contact Dr. Ruchir Thakkar at Cermak Immediate Care, or request an appointment online. We also take walk-in appointments.