Sexual Discomfort and Pain

Women often live into the eighth or ninth decade, but with age comes the reduced frequency of intercourse. This may be due to medical conditions, general discomfort or partner related issues. Often upon resuming intercourse, vaginal pain is encountered with penetration. This further impacts the frequency and enjoyment of the sexual encounter. This pain is referred to as dyspareunia.

Our Urogynecologists are highly trained at identifying anatomic and physical changes that could be contributing to your pain with penetration. There are often simple solutions to this discomfort of nonsurgical nature that could help ease your discomfort including oral and vaginal medications. 

Treatment Options

Pain with intercourse can present for many reasons:
  • Infection or inflammatory conditions of the vulva, vagina or bladder can create very sensitive skin and discomfort during intercourse.
  • Hormonal changes can result in atrophy of the vaginal tissue. The vaginal lining becomes thinner, and at the same time, the ability for the tissue to create natural lubrication declines.
  • Anatomic changes of the pelvic floor muscles from prior surgeries or injury can contribute to vaginal muscles that are not appropriately tensing/relaxing and supporting the pelvic floor.
  • Neurologic changes due to nerve injury or spine disease can contribute to abnormal nerve or muscle responses, making intercourse painful.
The medical management of painful intercourse can include oral or topical medications with highly proven results and sexual function improvement. If loss of libido and emotional or relationship issues are present, coordination with a sexual therapist has been shown to improve outcomes markedly. Furthermore, if the vaginal muscles are too taught or tense, physical therapy as well as trigger point injections (vaginal muscle injections) may be used to help relieve or manage the discomfort. Multiple research studies including randomized trials performed by our physicians have proven the efficacy of these treatments.

Our doctors have treated hundreds of women with intercourse-related vaginal pain and help them restore their intimacy and sexual life.