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Dyspareunia | Why do I feel pain during sexual intercourse?

Anastasios D. Kalantzis, Surgeon Urologist-Andrologist


Dyspareunia is defined as "a pathological condition in which sexual intercourse is painful or difficult for the woman, due to psychological problems (depression, performance anxiety), physical causes (vascular, neurogenic, hormonal, chronic diseases, use of medical substances, infections, undercurrent malignant conditions of the lower urogenital system) or advanced age". This means that the woman has continuous or intense pain in the genital organs during or after sexual intercourse.


In many cases, it is observed that voluntary pain is caused in order to increase sexual pleasure. This voluntary causing of pain should not be confused with dyspareunia, which is a pain disorder and a type of sexual disorder.


The problem with this condition is that, by experiencing this involuntary pain, the woman loses any desire for sex, which eventually results in vaginal contraction and dryness, a state that makes penile penetration and movement even more painful, thus making the pre-existing pain even more intense. Even in the thought of having sex, many women feel fear of potential pain, which prevents them from having any form of sexual contact and pleasure.


Pain disorders can also be observed in men, but in lesser percentages and are caused mainly by organic factors such as orchitis, varicocele, penile injuries, genital herpes, microbial infections etc.


Depending on the causes, treatment can be achieved through administration of medication or surgical intervention. It must be rapid and immediate and, in cases where the pain disorder is caused by psychological factors, also psychological support and therapy of the individual is imperative. It should be noted that the partner plays an important role in the healing process. With the assistance of their doctor, both partners can be instructed and find ways to deal with the problem.