Dyspareunia is the painful sexual intercourse due to medical or psychological causes.
The word dyspareunia is pronunciated as dis′pa-rū′nē-ă.
Dyspareunia in men is not commonly seen, if occurs it is due to underlying medical causes.
Causes of Dyspareunia in Men
Dyspareunia in men can result from allergic rashes over the penis, physical abnormities like tight foreskin or a bowed erection and infection of testes or prostate gland.
Interstitial cystitis and gonorrheal infections in men causes intense pain during ejaculation.
Urethritis makes erection of penis painful. Post ejaculation dyspareunia is a rare case of male dyspareunia in which there is persistent pain in the genitals during or after ejaculation.
Female dyspareunia is a common condition that can be due to various causes. Pain may be superficial or deep; in the external genitalia or in the pelvic area. The pain is often described as burning or cramping pain as in menstrual cycle. In most of the women, development of dyspareunia results in fear or loss of interest in sexual activities.
Causes of Dyspareunia in Women
Dyspareunia causes vary depending on the type of pain whether it is superficial or deep.
Superficial Dyspareunia or Introital Dyspareunia Causes
- Lack of vaginal fluid: If woman is not sexually aroused, there may not be adequate vaginal fluid for lubrication. The reason for lack of vaginal fluid may be insufficient foreplay. This results in painful intercourse.
Other causes of decrease in vaginal fluid are :
Atropic Vaginitis- As age advances, the vaginal lining becomes thin and dry because of decreasing level of estrogen hormone. Dyspareunia menopause is also associated with low hormonal level and vaginal dryness.
Breast feeding- Breast feeding can be another reason for low estrogen level and subsequent dryness of vagina.
Long term administration of antihistamines causes temporary dryness of vagina and painful sex.
- Increased sensitivity near the vaginal area causes entry dyspareunia while inserting the penis inside.
- Infection or Inflammation of urinary tract, external genitalia or Bertholins glands.
- Allergy to condoms and artificial lubricators.
- Injuries near external genitalia.
- Abnormal structure of vagina which may be congenital.
- Surgery in the vagina (stitches to repair episiotomy or to correct pelvic disorders).
- Thick hymen- Hymen is a thin membrane that encircles the vaginal opening. Hymen tears during the first intercourse if it was not previously stretched (use of tampons, sexual play using fingers) causing mild pain and bleeding. Congenitally tight hymen causes pain during sex.
- Vaginismus or insertional dyspareunia- It is the painful muscle spasm around vagina. It is often difficult to differentiate between dispareunia and vaginismus. Any type of dyspareunia may trigger onset of vaginismus.
- Post partum dyspareunia- It is mainly due to the perineal tear during child birth.
Written by Anju Mathew
on March 28th, 2011. The article was last updated on March 28th, 2011