Sex is complicated. Sexual activities engage a myriad of mind-body functions. A change in sexual desire (libido); low physical response (arousal); inability to reach orgasm (anorgasmia); and/or pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) are all problems of sexual dysfunction.
Common but often unspoken, female sexual dysfunction may affect as many as 50 percent of women. Individuals of all ages can experience sexual problems. Some have issues that develop during pregnancy and after childbirth. Others find their sex drive decreases with age and drops in hormone levels. Whatever your stage in life, it’s worthwhile determining the potential causes of your sexual dysfunction and exploring treatment options to improve your sexual satisfaction going forward.
Conditions and Symptoms
While your emotions and psychological outlook have a lot to do with sexual function, there are real and often treatable physical problems that lead to sexual dysfunction. Painful intercourse can result from lots of underlying physical causes such as vaginal atrophy, structural issues within the pelvic area, chemical irritation, infection, endometriosis, ovarian cysts or fibroids.
Here are some potential causes of pain during sex:
- Vaginal dryness: Some medical conditions such as longstanding diabetes and medications (including certain antibiotics or cancer fighting drugs) may cause decreased lubrication.
- A tender, painful bladder: Bacterial infection or other inflammatory condition can cause bladder pain that can be further irritated during sex.
- Pudendal neuralgia: Located in the pelvis, the pudendal nerve can become irritated due to local muscle or connective tissue restrictions and lead to ongoing discomfort.
- Vulvodynia is pain around the outside of the vagina (vulva) often felt as chronic irritation, burning and rawness.
- Tight pelvic floor muscles
At the Center for Pelvic Health, we take a multidisciplinary approach to best address the many facets and causes of female sexual dysfunction. We work with each patient to develop a customized treatment plan that could range from pelvic floor exercises and vaginal creams to hormone treatment and surgical reconstruction, such as vaginal rejuvenation to tighten the vagina and surrounding genital structures. For select patients, in concert with a medical approach, we may also take an inventory of how making changes in their daily life can also help.
For More Information
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 224.251.CFPH (2374).