Dyspareunia. Guide to sexual pain

Topics in this article:

  • Key points of the disorder
  • Incidence of dyspareunia in postmenopausal women: how many women suffer from it?
  • Dyspareunia: where is the pain felt?
  • Symptoms of dyspareunia or sexual pain
  • Symptoms related to dyspareunia
  • Possible causes of dyspareunia
  • Effective treatments for dyspareunia

Dyspareunia indicates the manifestation of sexual pain , which develops during or after an intimate relationship and in relation to this in the genital area .

Dyspareunia is listed by doctors as a Female Sexual Disorder (FDS) and often associated with vaginismus , but it is not exactly the same. In fact, dyspareunia is typically a disorder that affects women in menopause, while vaginismus has mostly psychological origins and can also affect young girls.

Key points of the disorder

  • It is a pain that occurs during or after intercourse in the pelvic or vaginal area
  • It is common among women in menopause: almost 1 in 2 women have to deal with pain during or after lovemaking
  • Different types of dyspareunia can be indicated (primary, superficial, profound, etc.) but generally it is a pain that arises in relation to sexual intercourse
  • Symptoms are mainly pain, localized in the genital and / or pelvic area and which persists after intercourse. Sometimes other related symptoms such as vaginal dryness , pain on contact, even during gynecological examinations, and small blood loss join this main symptom .

To identify dyspareunia it is important to pay attention to:

  • When you start to feel pain during or after intercourse
  • Period of life you are going through. It is important to report to the gynecologist if it is a particularly stressful or tiring time in your life
  • What is the context in which the pain develops and if there are any “typical” moments, for example when you go to the bathroom after intercourse, immediately after orgasm, etc.
  • Localization of pain – as exact as possible

The main causes can be:

  • Biological, i.e. hormonal or infectious in nature
  • Relational or psychological causes
  • Endometriosis or other pelvic diseases
  • Vulvar vestibulitis

Incidence of dyspareunia in postmenopausal women: how many women suffer from it?

In menopause, dyspareunia is a very common disorder . It is estimated that about 45% of women after the age of 55 (post-menopause) suffer from it, but it has been spoken for relatively recently. Until a few decades ago, in fact, there was a certain reluctance first of all of women to talk about their intimacy in menopause with the gynecologist, but also of the gynecologist himself to consider this symptomatology as something that can be treated appropriately to restore a satisfying intimate life to the woman.

Fortunately, today this is no longer the case: if you were to experience some pain after intercourse on several occasions, localized in the pelvic area, which persists for a few minutes or even for a few days, it is important to talk to the specialist .

Dyspareunia: where is the pain felt?

If you think you have a sexual pain problem it is important that you focus on trying to locate the pain as accurately as possible. This is what will give your doctor the opportunity to understand exactly what type of dyspareunia we are talking about and what is the best treatment.

This is usually a cramp-like pain (a twitch) that can occur at the vaginal entrance or in the vaginal canal . Generally this type of pain is felt immediately, already during intercourse or soon after.

Other times the pain is deeper and spreads into the pelvic area and even up to the anus. Usually in deeper dyspareunias the pain begins after intercourse, sometimes even several hours later, and lasts longer over time.

Symptoms of dyspareunia or sexual pain

The most obvious symptom is pain and it is also the most characteristic of this disorder . Pain occurs after intercourse and not randomly throughout the day. This is the most obvious thing that makes this disorder correctly identify.

Symptoms related to dyspareunia

In addition to pain during or after penetration, dyspareunia sometimes also gives other symptomatic manifestations that can be related to the main one.

Among the symptoms most frequently associated with pain during intercourse there may be vaginal dryness , decreased desire (due to evident difficulties related to the conduct of intimate intercourse), hyper-sensitivity of the vaginal mucosa often associated with contact or rubbing inflammation ( even in contact with underwear), pains even during a simple gynecological examination very similar to those felt during or after intimate intercourse.

Possible causes of dyspareunia

Beyond the evident relationship that exists between dyspareunia and menopause , it certainly cannot be said that menopause is the cause of dyspareunia. It is the conditions that can occur in menopause (some physiological, others not) that may be the basis of the onset of the disorder .

We are talking about Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy , a very frequent condition in menopause (it affects one woman out of two), or other disorders related to the psychological sphere ( anxiety , depression ) that can appear with the arrival of the climacteric.

Effective treatments for dyspareunia

If you are experiencing pain related to an intimate relationship , it is important that you discuss it with your gynecologist before addressing the problem from any other point of view This situation could in fact lead to an avoidance of intimate relationships that is not good for the couple, nor for yourself as a woman, nor for your sexuality in general.

Continuing to have an active intimate life even after menopause is important for many reasons, both physical and psychological, and your gynecologist or menopause specialist can certainly help you keep it alive for as long as you want.

It is important to examine the problem well with the doctor and try to understand what are the most important aspects to undertake a personalized path .


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