In the most recent version, the DSM 5 has grouped dyspareunia under the diagnosis of Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder.(1)
The median time to resolution of the non-focal dyspareunia was 5.5 months, and tenderness persisted up to one year.(2)
How Long Will It Take To Recover From Dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia may present as an acute or chronic symptom based on the underlying etiology. To cure the symptoms of this condition, the underlying pathology has to be corrected for which the duration of treatment varies. A simple urinary tract infection may get cured within one week but other conditions like pelvic mass or adhesions may not get corrected by itself and dyspareunia will not be cured. It would likely require surgical intervention and then it can get corrected within 3 to 6 weeks. So, the recovery duration from dyspareunia varies widely and there is no specific time cap that can be put on it.
However, based upon the causes, a rough estimate could be provided. The most common cause for dyspareunia in a sexually active female is either due to anatomic variations such as thick hymen, presence of vaginal septum, reduction in the size of introitus, etc. or due to lower urinary tract infections like that of chlamydia, trichomonas vaginalis, fungal infections, etc. The cases associated with lower urinary tract infections can get cured even after a single dosage of pharmacological treatment and the pain may disappear within a few days. On the other hand, anatomic variations will not go away with medical treatment and they are to be cured by simple surgical procedures such as vaginal septum removal, hymen reduction, etc. But these are almost curative and symptoms may disappear within one or two days.(3)
Other causes of dyspareunia such as cancer, pelvic masses, estrogen deficiency, psychosocial factors do not get treated easily and recovery may take between a few months to even years. Also, the recovery period depends upon time for which the patient has experienced the symptoms of dyspareunia. Longer the problem, longer is the time taken for a solution in most cases.
How Long Do The Symptoms Of Dyspareunia Last?
The period for symptoms of dyspareunia depends upon the cause but generally, these are felt in the form of pain and uneasiness while having sexual intercourse or just after it for a period of few minutes to few hours. Symptoms may vary upon the psychological makeup of the person because the anticipation and fear of pain in response to the attempted intercourse may worsen the condition and the patient will experience pain for a longer duration of time. It has been included in the DSM 5 classification of psychiatric disorders as a genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder. According to a study, many cases were known to have the symptoms of dyspareunia for a long duration of time ranging in years but were reluctant to consult a doctor due to the embarrassment caused by the questions.(4)
There is no specific period or duration available for the presence of symptoms and their recovery in most of the cases of dyspareunia because of a lot of etiologies involved in the causation of this condition. On one side of the bar, it may occur as a one- or two-episodes phenomenon during the first sexual intercourse but on the other side, it may have lasted for many years due to some serious underlying pathology such as fibroids, cancer, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
There is a serious social stigma associated with this condition and most of the times, affected women are reluctant to talk about this. But it is very necessary to take the consult of a doctor because it may not be a simple pain disorder and may require immediate medical attention.