Experiencing some form of pain and or discomfort during sex is fairly common. However, if this pain is recurring or frequent then you should seek medical advice to ensure that there are no underlying causes behind the pain during sex.
Pain during sexual activity will usually fall into one of two categories; superficial pain and deep pain.
Deep pain is where you feel a pain deep inside of you, such as when using a vibrator or sexual aide or when your partner is thrusting during sex. There are several common causes of deep vaginal pain which we will now explore.
Endometriosis: This is a condition which sees the tissue lining of the uterus, which is normally growing on the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus in other parts of the body. It is often quite painful, but there are numerous effective treatments that are responsible for alleviating the symptoms. The symptoms include; heavy and painful periods, pelvic and abdominal pain, bleeding between menstrual cycles, and pain during or after sexual activity. The treatment of endometriosis usually involves medication, and in extreme cases, may result in surgery. Treatment of endometriosis will happen after consultation with a GP or gynaecologist and may involve a laparoscopy.
Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID):-
This condition will affect around one in eight women at some stage during their lives. It is most common in young, sexually active, women between the ages of 20 and 25. If the condition is diagnosed early, then sufferers will make a full and complete recovery.
PID caused by a bacterial infection and results in the inflammation of the pelvic area and can affect the cervix, fallopian tubes, or the ovaries. It is most commonly associated with a sexually transmitted infection, though it can also follow the termination of a pregnancy, childbirth, and even the insertion of a contraceptive device. Some women may not experience any of the following symptoms but commonly associated symptoms are abdomen pain, back pain, pain during urination and/or sex, bleeding after sex, fever, chills and or vomiting. It is treated quickly and effectively with a course of anti-biotics, and you may be asked to contact any sexual health partners that you’ve had in the previous six months to ensure that they are tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths, lumps or parts of muscle tissues that will form in the lining of the uterus. They can vary in sizes and can be anything from the size of a pea, to the size of a rock melon and larger. Unfortunately, no-one really knows why fibroids occur. However, they have been linked to female hormones and there is a general consensus that the production of oestrogen and progesterone play an important role in the stimulation of the growth of fibroids. They will occur in women of reproductive age, and will continue to grow until the onset of menopause, whereby they will decrease in size due to the lowering levels of female hormones.
They can occur in up to 70% of women by the time that a woman has reached the age of 50. For the most part, women won’t even know that they have them due to not suffering from the symptoms which include; iron deficiency, frequent need to urinate, pressure on the bladder, bowel and lower back, intense period pan, painful sexual activity.
Fibroids are diagnosed through a gynaecological examination, laparoscopy, and a hysteroscopy. The management and treatments of fibroids is generally not needed unless they are impairing fertility rates and or causing extreme period pain.
An ectopic pregnancy is as a result of a fertilised egg implanting itself outside of the uterus. This will result in the embryo being unable to develop and can potentially cause fatal problems if not attended to, which includes the destruction of the fallopian tube, and potential rupturing of the internal organs. If you experience one sided abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, shoulder tip pain and bowel pain then you should seek medical advice immediately.
There are also superficial pains which can occur. A superficial pain is categorised as the feeling of pain before a sex toy, sexual aide or penis has been inserted into the vagina. This might be felt at the entrance to the vagina as opposed to being a pain inside the vagina.
The common causes of superficial pain are:
- A Skin Condition
- Injury to the vagina
- A foreign body inside the vagina
- A dry Vagina
- An STI such as genital herpes.
Another issue which may cause vaginal pain is the condition of vaginismus. Vaginismus is a vaginal condition which results in the muscles around the vagina tightening themselves up. It is usually responsive to the sense of touch and will occur during sex, or during an examination of the vagina.
Experiencing of pain during sexual intercourse is not something that should be expected with regular use. If pain persists, seek medical advice to determine an underlying cause.