13 Causes of Pain During Sex (When to Seek Medical Attention?)
If you’ve experienced pain during sex, you’re not alone. As much as 20% of women report pain in some way during sexual intercourse. This number is significant, and it continues to grow the less society speaks on these common painful conditions related to the reproductive system.
Luckily, knowing what causes pain during sex can help you start treating it. It’s essential to speak to your gynecologist if you think you may have this condition, so you can get on the road to feeling better.
Read on for the 13 most common causes of pain during sex.
Why Does Sex Hurt?
So, what causes pain during sex? Sex can hurt for several reasons, from a medical condition to physical traits such as vaginal dryness. To figure out the cause of your painful sex, you’ll need to determine where it hurts and why.
Sex Shouldn’t Be Painful
It’s essential to remember that sex shouldn’t be painful. If you’re experiencing pain, something is wrong that needs to be looked into. Some women report that sex is painful due to their partner’s size or not getting wet during intercourse.
These two problems both have causes that can efficiently be dealt with. Sometimes it is as simple as using lubrication or communicating with your partner what hurts and what doesn’t.
Painful Sex in Women
Painful sex can feel distressing, and it can take the fun out of the act. Remember that you shouldn’t put yourself through pain for the pleasure of someone else. If something is hurting, communicate with your partner to find another way to continue that doesn’t hurt you.
If everything hurts, you may have to let your partner know that you can’t have sex until you speak with a doctor. Painful sex, also called dyspareunia, is much more common in women than in men. You may want to find a female doctor to speak to who will understand your concerns.
Conditions to Look Out For
Here are the top 13 causes of pain during sex for women.
Vaginal dryness can cause pain when your vagina is not lubricated during sex. Dryness can be caused by several things, including:
- A lack of arousal
- A disease
- Recent birth
If you can’t get wet during intercourse, you're not alone. It happens to many women, and it’s often normal. You can solve vaginal dryness by using a personal lubricant. Lube is made to increase comfort and fun during sex, so you don’t have to worry about your body doing it for you.
If you feel that something is wrong or that your pain is not related to dryness, always speak with your doctor.
Your vagina may get hurt during sex if you frequently have rough sex while dry or with a large object or penis. Some women may have vaginal atrophy, which causes their vaginal walls to become thinner. This condition is more common in women going through menopause.
Vaginismus is a psychological body response to penetration. Some women have a fear of having anything inside of their bodies. The muscles in the vagina will then tighten, which is unintentional on the woman’s part. This condition can be extremely painful and distressing. It may accompany sexual trauma.
With the help of a therapist or counselor and your doctor, you may be able to get comfortable again.
Endometriosis is a condition that causes growth of the lining of your uterus in other areas. It can cause extreme pain in your lower abdomen and during sex, especially if it grows near your cervix or vaginal walls. Always see a doctor to get help for this condition.
An ovarian cyst is a cyst that grows on either one or both of your ovaries. It can cause lower pain right around your pelvic area. Ovarian cysts can be removed or diminished with birth control therapy or surgery.
Pelvic inflammatory disease causes your body to become inflamed in the pelvic region. This inflammation can be caused by autoimmune conditions, stress, and other health conditions. You’ll want to see a doctor to see what is causing the inflammation.
This condition has similar symptoms to a UTI, which can be extremely painful. It causes pain in the bladder and urethra, which can be constant or come and go. You can see a urologist to get more information and treatment.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction is more common in older women, but it is possible for young women also to experience this condition. In PFD, your pelvic floor muscles become weak and cannot support your organs as well. It can cause prolapse and pain, so seeing a doctor is essential.
Pelvic Floor Injury
If you’ve had an injury to your pelvic area, you may experience pain during sex. The pain may be caused by trauma, bleeding, or bruising. You can bruise your cervix even during regular sex if it is rough. If your pain persists for more than a week, see a doctor.
This condition is extreme pain in your vulva and vaginal area that doesn’t go away. It can be caused by touching the area, sex, and even sitting. You will need a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment to find relief from vulvodynia.
A vaginal or urinary infection can cause pain during sex. Since the body becomes inflamed when you have an infection, it can quickly become irritated with too much touch. You can take antibiotics and other medicines to reduce this pain and get rid of the infection.
Fibroids are growths in the uterus and surrounding areas of the reproductive system that cause intense pain in many women.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
If you have chronic pain during sex and in your pelvic region, you may have pelvic congestion syndrome. This condition can be caused by enlarged veins or trauma. Luckily, there is hope through treatment.
Symptoms and Signs That Painful Sex is from a Vascular Condition
Here are some common signs and symptoms that your painful sex is caused by your vascular system (nerves and veins).
- Your pain lasts for more than six months.
- You feel like you have considerable, heavy weight stuck inside you.
- Your pain worsens after prolonged physical activity, such as sex or long periods of standing or sitting.
- When you lay down, your pain feels better, as the blood is not pooling in the pelvic or abdomen region.
- You experience leg pain or vaginal pressure.
- You feel pain during sex or after sex, such as described above.
- Your menstrual cycle is painful.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Now you should have a better idea of what causes pain during sex. You should seek medical attention whenever your pain is distressing and frequent. If you experience pain for more than a few days, or you can’t find the cause of pain yourself, a trained gynecologist will be able to help you.
In some cases, vascular disease may be the culprit. Either way, treatment is available to help you get back to your everyday sexual life.