Although the condition sounds quite complicated, to define dyspareunia is rather simple. Dyspareunia is painful intercourse. A more precise definition is persistent or recurring genital pain that may occur immediately before, during or just after intercourse. Most women will experience pain during intercourse at some point during their life, but dyspareunia is more than an occasional thing. It is believed that one in five women suffer from this reversible condition. It is rare, but men may suffer from this condition as well.
- Symptoms. The symptoms of dyspareunia vary from woman to woman and may include superficial pain on penetration (most common complaint), a bumping sensation deep in the vagina, a sharp stabbing pain or cramping similar to menstrual cramps. In men, the pain is usually felt in the penis. It can also be felt in the testicles or internally at the prostate or seminal vesicles.
- Causes. The causes of superficial dyspareunia most often include insufficient lubrication, injury or irritation, infection, adverse reactions to birth control or an involuntary tightening of the vaginal walls known as vaginusmus. The causes of deep dyspareunia include illness or internal conditions (such as endometriosis), infection, surgery or treatment. Emotional causes can create superficial and deep dysparenuia symptoms. The emotional causes include a history of sexual abuse, stress and anxiety.
- Treatment. Most cases of dyspareunia can be reversed with treatment once the underlying cause is diagnosed. In the case of insufficient lubrication, dyspareunia can be remedied by slowing down and engaging in extended foreplay or using additional lubes. Sometimes all it takes to reverse the problem is changing the position of penetration. Treating an underlying problem, such as infection or condition, will resolve many cases of dyspareunia. If the cause is an underlying emotional issue, talking openly and honestly with your partner may alleviate the pain. In cases of abuse, professional help from a counselor should be sought.
Most women who suffer from dyspareunia do not seek treatment out of embarrassment, Left untreated, dyspareunia can permanently disrupt your sex life and lead to self image disorders and intimacy problems. Until pain free sex can be achieved, it is recommended that couples engage in a variety of sensual techniques. Massage, oral sex and mutual masturbation can all be fulfilling activities to engage in.