Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful sexual intercourse in women. Painful intercourse may be short-lived or may continue for a long period of time. It may occur just before, during or after intercourse, and the specific location and severity of the pain may vary. Women with dyspareunia may experience pain during penetration, pain with intimate touching or pain when experiencing orgasm.
Pain during intercourse may be a result of various conditions that may include:
- Skin disorders
- Certain medical conditions
- Medications that diminish sexual desire
- Psychological factors
Gynecologic disorders including endometriosis, hormonal changes, vaginitis or the growth of ovarian cysts may also be responsible for sexual pain. Some women experience painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse for months after childbirth.
To diagnose the cause of painful intercourse, a doctor will review the patient's medical history and pelvic exam is usually performed to detect possible skin irritation, infection, or external or internal abnormalities. Some patients may require further testing such as a laparoscopy to more closely view internal structures of the reproductive system. Blood tests may also be performed to measure hormone levels.
Painful intercourse that is caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection or disease, can usually be treated by addressing the associated condition. Other treatment options may include:
- Changing current medications
- Hormone supplements
- Use of lubricants
- Kegel exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medication
Sessions with a certified sex therapist may be helpful for pain caused by emotional factors. Different treatment options and approaches may be recommended for a patient's particular condition, taking into account the causes of sexual pain, as well as their individual needs and comfort.
Contraception and IUD management
Contraception is a means of protecting women from becoming pregnant after having sex through a wide range of options. There are many contraception options available for women that may be permanent or temporary, and may be needed every time you have sex, every day or just once. Some of these options are more effective than others, but it is up to you decide which option is best for you.
Temporary contraceptive options are commonly used by women who would like to have children in the future, but are not ready to get pregnant yet. They offer protection for as long as you choose and most are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly. There are several different options for temporary contraception depending on patients' age, health, life and previous experience.
Some of the most popular temporary contraceptive options include:
- Oral Contraceptives
(Birth Control Pills, "The Pill")
- Vaginal Ring
- Intrauterine Device
- Vaginal Sponge
- Skin Patch
- Emergency Contraception
("The Morning After Pill")
Women who have already had children, or those who know they will never want to may benefit from permanent birth control methods. These contraceptive options involve a surgical procedure that disrupts the natural fertilization process, usually by tying or cutting off access to the fallopian tubes.
Some of the permanent contraceptive options include:
- Tubal Ligation
- Essure Sterilization
Choosing the right type of contraception for your individual needs is a personal decision for a woman to make. It is important to take into consideration the hormone levels, frequency, effectiveness and permanence of contraceptive options before deciding which one is right for you. Our doctors are very knowledgeable in the different types of birth control, and can provide you with relevant information and answer any questions you may have in order to help you make an informed decision.
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