Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia refers to pain in the pelvic area. It occurs during or after sexual intercourse. Although this condition can occur in both men and women, it is more common in women.

  • Causes

  • Definition

    Dyspareunia refers to pain in the pelvic area. It occurs during or after sexual intercourse. Although this condition can occur in both men and women, it is more common in women.

  • Diagnosis

    The diagnosis is often made based on your symptoms. Your doctor will take a medical and sexual history. A physical exam will be done.

    For women:


    • Your doctor will check your vaginal wall to look for:

      • Signs of dryness
      • Inflammation
      • Infection
      • Genital warts
      • Scarring

    • Your doctor will also do an internal pelvic exam to look for:

      • Abnormal pelvic masses
      • Tenderness
      • Signs of endometriosis

    For men and women:

    • Your doctor may suggest more tests. They may include cultures to find infections. Imaging studies like ultrasound may also be used.
    • You may be referred to a counselor. This will help to determine whether psychological issues may be a cause.

  • Prevention

    • Wait at least six weeks before having sexual relations after childbirth. It may be necessary to use a lubricant because of hormonal changes causing vaginal dryness.
    • Use proper hygiene and get routine medical care.

    • Practice safe sex to prevent
      sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Adequate foreplay and stimulation will help to ensure proper lubrication of the vagina.
    • Use a water-soluble lubricant. Vaseline should not be used as a lubricant. It is not water-soluble, and it may encourage vaginal infections.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of dyspareunia include:

    In women:

    • Being postmenopausal
    • Taking medications that produce a vaginal dryness

    In men and women, viral or bacterial infections may be to blame.

  • Symptoms


    Pain associated with dyspareunia may:

    • Occur during or after sex
    • Be itching, burning, stabbing, or aching

    • Be located in the:

      • Vagina
      • Urethra
      • Bladder
      • Pelvis
      • Penis
      • Testicles
    • Occur during all phases of sexual contact or only with deep thrusting
    • May also occur with tampon use—fabric absorbs natural vaginal lubricant
    Female Reproductive System
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  • Treatment