Talk to your doctor about painful sex.
Pain during sex may feel like a hush-hush topic, but it is really common and not something you should stay quiet about. Research revealed that nearly three out of four women will experience pain during sex at some point in their lives. The problem can strike at any time but is especially common during menopause, when plummeting estrogen levels often leads to vaginal dryness and irritation that makes sex uncomfortable. A lot of women try to just grin and bear it, but you shouldn’t. Bringing up painful sex with your doctor can be the first step towards making intimacy feel good again. Here are some instances when it is worth having that conversation, plus how to bring it up.
The pain is accompanied by bleeding.
Some occasional painless spotting after sex is normal for women who still get their periods. But if the spotting or bleeding happens alongside pain, that is another story, talk to your doctor about painful sex . Intense dryness can sometimes cause trauma to vaginal tissue that can lead to bleeding. Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause spotting and pain after sex too. However, it is a different story if you are postmenopausal. In that case, any vaginal bleeding after sex (or at any other time) warrants a call to the doc, since it could be a sign of serious issues like vaginal or cervical cancer.
Lubricant doesn’t help.
OTC lubricants or vaginal moisturizers are often the first line of defence when sex gets uncomfortable, according to research. “Very often, painful intercourse is caused by vaginal dryness. So, if those are not helping out, it is worth bringing your doctor on board. Hormonal changes, breastfeeding, certain medications, and even severe stress or depression can all trigger dryness, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Your doc can help you pinpoint the problem and see if prescription treatments like topical or oral estrogen are a good solution.
It hurts when you pee.
Do you get an itchy or burning sensation when you urinate? It can be a sign of an underlying STI. In this case, not only your ability to pee will be affected but you will also experience irritation and painful sex. Occasionally, pain that strikes during sex and urination can be caused by a clitoral adhesion. Sometimes called a “hooded” clitoris, this occurs when the flap of skin over the clitoris gland gets stuck, which can make sex painful or trap bacteria that could cause a vaginal infection, according to a Sexual Medicine study. If your gyno thinks that is what is causing your pain, minor surgery can usually help.
The pain is intense or long-lasting
If your pain is not accompanied by other symptoms, it can be tough to know exactly when to talk to your doctor. “It’s a personal decision “But if you are at the point where there is consistent discomfort, definitely get it checked out.” And you should call your doctor as soon as possible if the pain is accompanied by any kind of trauma, visible lesions, or abnormal discharge.
On the other hand, it is fine to bring up mild pain that happens just once or twice too. You should never have to wait until it is very bad to ask your doctor about it. In such cases talk to your doctor about painful sex. Make an appointment to see a doctor or gynecologist if the pain doesn’t go away.