Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Dyspareunia produces pain during sexual intercourse that can be so severe that many women elect not to have sex rather than subject themselves to this level of agony.

In men, dyspareunia shows up as pain at the moment of ejaculation or sometimes as testicular pain immediately after an ejaculation. Dyspareunia in men is sometimes confused with Peyronie’s disease, which is characterized by fibrotic plaque that reduces the elasticity of the penis. This type of plaque causes painful erections.

Prevalence

Although “dyspareunia” is an uncommonly difficult word to pronounce (dis-pa-roo-ne-uh), the condition itself is surprisingly common. The reported prevalence of dyspareunia ranges from approximately 10 percent to upwards of 35 percent in women. Among men, most demographic studies put the frequency of dyspareunia in the low single digits.

Dyspareunia is also a warning sign for other, more severe, urologic problems that develop from undiagnosed pelvic floor dysfunction.

Symptoms

For Women
  • Pain during penetration, intercourse, especially deeper penetration
For Men
  • Pain upon ejaculation (urethra and head of penis)
  • Pain immediately after ejaculation (testicular)

Prevention

Prevention methods depend upon cause of the symptoms. That said, gentle stretching of the pelvic muscles coupled with trigger point release work and relaxation techniques often help. In addition, these simple tips can help.

  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom
  • Urinate before and after intercourse
  • Use water-based lubricants before intercourse

Diagnostic Tools

Treatment

Treatments for dyspareunia vary depending upon the cause: vasculogenic, neurogenic, pelvic floor dysfunction, hormonal/menopause, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, psychological, and infectious.