Pain after intercourse: the possible causes

Passenger or persistent, superficial or deep, light or intense. Pain after sexual intercourse can be of many types and is a sign that should not be overlooked.

This article was written in collaboration with our doctors and specialists

In medical terminology, pain related to intimate relationships is called dyspareunia . It can occur before, during and after the sexual act, up to two days later. In this article we talk specifically about pain after intercourse , which can be transient or persistent, more or less intense and more or less profound depending on the type and location.

Dyspareunia is a disorder far more common among women in menopause compared to than it is during the fertile life., The hormonal changes may in fact be a central and determining factor for the occurrence of these pains. Let us remember once again that these changes in the balances of hormones are absolutely physiological at the end of the fertile age, therefore normal. This does not mean, however, that pain after intercourse must be passively accepted and endured.

For this reason it is important to discuss it with the gynecologist because there are several preventive measures and useful treatments that can be discussed with the specialist.

In this post we will talk about:

  1. What is dyspareunia
  2. the possible causes of pain after intercourse
  3. When the cause of pain after intercourse is Vulvo-Vaginal Atrophy
  4. Pain after intercourse: what to do

What is dyspareunia

The dyspareunia is the painful feeling that the woman may experience in the stomach and that appears more or less suddenly in relation to an intimate relationship : during or after.

It can be mild pain but also strong intensity spasms that can be so problematic as to discourage the approach to intimacy and even have psychological repercussions. Depending on the localization of the pain, the following are distinguished:

  1. Superficial dyspareunia:the pain is localized in the outermost part of the vagina (or at the introit). It is usually already felt during penetration.
  2. Profound dyspareunia:the pain is deep, viscerally localized in the lower abdomen. This is the type of pain that is most frequently felt after intercourse, the one we deal with in this article.

If you want to delve into the difference between superficial and profound dyspareunia, here are two articles for you:

  1. Superficial and profound dyspareunia: differences and symptoms
  2. What you need to know about pain after intercourse

the possible causes of pain after intercourse

Pain after intercourse can have several causes.

Knowing how to listen to your body and be able to tell what happens to the gynecologist is very important to define well what the real problem is: in a nutshell, to formulate the right diagnosis.

In menopause, love can be painful for many reasons , but there is a lot that can be done to enjoy sex peacefully even after 50 .

Here’s what you need to know: in menopause, pain after intercourse is almost always related to hormonal changes and changes in the female genital system , which in turn are the direct consequence of reduced hormone production (estrogen in particular).

We are talking specifically about natural conditions that can intervene when ovarian activity ceases: they are vaginal dryness , thinning of the vulvar tissues, itching or small lesions that can be caused by these situations.

However, it can happen that pain after intercourse is also caused by :

  1. Inflammations that can be more frequent during menopause . The reason is that, due to the reduced natural lubrication that is physiological in menopause, the mechanical action of intimate intercourse can cause a series of micro-lesions on the vaginal walls that can become inflamed.
  2. Itching . In menopause, itching is common, mainly due to vaginal dryness . The compulsion to scratch can cause irritation of the mucous membranes which can cause pain on contact.
  3. Burning . Also due to vaginal dryness, in menopause it is common to feel intimate burning, directly connected with the inflammation or not. It is clear that rubbing on a tissue that is already sensitive in itself can generate pain.

Similarly, pain can be caused by:

  • Infections that relapses in menopause may be more frequentbecause when decreases the production of hormones the vaginal pH is modified and is no longer able, with its natural acidity, to constitute an effective barrier against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or fungi.
  • Vaginal atrophy: thisis a frequent condition that affects one in two women and must be monitored by the gynecologist because it can evolve and worsen over time. At the origin there is always the lack of estrogen which, under certain conditions, can trigger a process of atrophy of the vagina and vulva , making the tissues thinner and less elastic and consequently more fragile . In menopause, vulvo-vaginal atrophy is one of the main causes of pain after intercourse.

When the cause of pain after intercourse is Vulvo-Vaginal Atrophy

It is a chronic and progressive condition which, if not properly treated, can worsen over time . Vulvo-vaginal atrophy causes a  thinning of the vulvar tissues , which become more fragile and less elastic: this condition results in pain after sexual intercourse and difficulty in having intercourse.

It is important to underline that the main signs of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy are at the same time very frequent disorders in menopause. But not only that: these are discomforts that most women have experienced with some frequency even during their fertile life because they are linked to the cycle, or to infections (such as candida , for example). This fact makes these disorders somewhat “known” and for this reason many women tend not to consider them with due attention.

It is in fact:

  • intimate itching
  • vaginal dryness
  • pain in intercourse
  • more or less intense blood loss .

These are the alarm bells that should not be underestimated and that it is important to report to the gynecologist . The specialist can trace them to the exact cause and identify an adequate and personalized treatment.

Pain after intercourse: what to do

So, in summary, if you experience intimate pain with some frequency during or after intercourse:

  • Contact your gynecologist: itis the first and most useful thing to do if the pain is felt. There is a lot that can be done to treat this problem and recover a smile under the sheets but it is important that you become an ally of your doctor by establishing a frank and sincere dialogue with him.
  • Take care of intimate hygiene more carefullybecause the changed conditions of the vulvar ecosystem require some changes in your habits. It is important to avoid washing too often but above all to use specific intimate cleansers for menopause, more delicate and slightly more acidic .
  • Wear only natural fabrics:choose pure cotton underwear, preferably white in color, and avoid synthetic fabrics that prevent proper perspiration.
  • Already in itself , menopause can change intimacydue to the inconvenience and inconvenience it can cause, due to the decrease in desire , unfortunately frequent for many women , but also for many taboos concerning the life of a couple in menopause .

In such a delicate phase, it is important to listen to the signals that the body sends to maintain one’s well-being and a good quality of life .


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