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  • Erica

Painful sex- you're not alone.

Updated: Jan 15

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, three out of four women experience painful sex at some point during their lifetime. While this is a common problem, it certainly should not be normalized. It is a problem that can be eliminated with appropriate treatment.

The degree of pain someone experiences during sex varies greatly. For some women, it’s painful every time. For others, the pain is occasional and only in certain positions. Pain may occur at the vulva, the vestibule or deeper within the vagina. Pain may radiate to the perineum, the bladder, the uterus, low back or throughout the pelvic- girdle region.

Painful sex is referred to as dyspareunia. It has a variety of causes. And it is important for your healthcare provider to determine the cause of dyspareunia.

Common causes of dyspareunia are:

  • Childbirth

  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (Tight muscles of the pelvic floor that may be in spasm)

  • Emotional factors

  • Endometriosis

  • Fibroids

  • Menopause

  • Post-radiation treatment

  • Vaginal dryness from hormonal shifts, arousal related, incorrect type of lubrication

  • Vaginismus

  • Vulvodynia

  • Vaginitis or infection


Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss painful intercourse. Remember, painful sex is not normal - treatment is available. It will vary depending on the root cause of the pain. If your healthcare provider determines the issue is muscular, you will benefit from seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist as well as using Elevated dilators.

A team approach is the best approach. There may be more than one cause of painful intercourse. To effectively treat painful sex, the root cause must be identified and treated. Successful treatment will provide both physical and emotional relief.


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