Dyspareunia is the feeling of discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. Dyspareunia leads to sexual dissatisfaction. Dyspareunia, when left untreated, can cause serious harm to the relationships. Untreated dyspareunia can also cause depression. Dyspareunia is treatable, so one should consult the doctor at the earliest.(1)
What Happens To Untreated Dyspareunia?
It is always wise to treat your dyspareunia as treatment gives good results. Dyspareunia caused by infection (vaginal or urinary tract infection) may disappear within a week after treatment with proper drugs (anti-fungal or antibiotics). For other types of infection, such as sexually transmitted diseases it may take more time. But, for most of the cases, even for physiological or psychological causes, it is not recommended to keep it untreated. Dyspareunia when left untreated can cause serious problems regarding relationships with your partner, psychological problem, depression, and loss of sexual interest or fear from sex. You can wait for some time to see whether the condition is a temporary one, but when it is not getting better, consult your doctor.(2)
When To Go To Doctor For Dyspareunia?
Watch for certain signs to understand that it is time to visit your doctor to treat dyspareunia. Some of the obvious signs are:
Lubricants Are Not Working: The tissues of your vagina can become drier and thinner after menopause due to a lack of estrogen. Thus, natural lubrication is absent at this stage. You may use artificial lubricants during sexual intercourse. But when the use of artificial lubricants is not enough to stop the painful intercourse, got to your doctor.
Signs Of Bleeding: If you are bleeding during or after intercourse, then it is wise to consult your doctor. It can also a sign of some serious illness.
Experiencing Pain Or Difficulty During Urination: If you are experiencing discomfort during urination as well you may be suffering from vaginal atrophy due to lower levels of estrogen. This may happen after menopause and may trigger vaginal or urinary tract infection.
It Is Not Going Away And Causing Relationship Issues: When the pain during sexual intercourse increases to the point that it is affecting your relationship with your partner then consult your doctor immediately. If left untreated it may cause further trouble, you may lose interest in sex, have more relationship issues, and depression.
The Pain Is Making You Afraid Of Sex: It is important to have good sexual behavior in a healthy relationship. If the pain is making you afraid of sex then it will harm your relationship as well. Fear also makes your muscles in the pelvic region to get tightened, further making it difficult to have sex.
The Pain Is Worsening With Time: If your pain is getting more severe over time, then it is advisable to get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to treat dyspareunia.(3)
Dyspareunia is the feeling of discomfort or pain in the area of the external genitals and small pelvis that arise in connection with sexual intercourse. Women can have psychological as well as the physical basis of the disease such as infection or physiological disorder. Dyspareunia leads to sexual dissatisfaction, a decrease in sexual desire, avoidance of sexual contacts, violation of relationships with a partner, and depression.(1)
The causes of dyspareunia are determined in the context of the gynecological examination, ultrasound, laboratory examinations, and advice from a psychotherapist or a sexologist. Treatment can include therapy for gynecological diseases, psychotherapy, and developing optimal techniques for sexual intercourse.(1)
Treatment Of Dyspareunia
In the presence of confirmed physiological reasons for dyspareunia, treatment is carried out by specialists of the appropriate profile (gynecologists, urologists, venereologists). Based on the identified etiological factors, drug therapy (anti-inflammatory, sedative, HRT, local anesthetics), gynecological massage, physiotherapy is prescribed.
According to the indications, surgical intervention is carried out (correction of anatomical defects, vaginal plastic, preparation of the hymen fibrosis, removal of genital warts, removal of the Bartholin gland cyst, etc.). If necessary, a suitable method of contraception will be chosen. In the case of genital prolapse, the use of the uterine ring is recommended.
Treatment of psychogenic dyspareunia can be handled by psychotherapy or sex therapy (single or as a couple or as a team). The goal of psychotherapeutic treatment is to change attitudes towards sexual intercourse, to remove expectations of pain, to harmonize the marital relationship. Recommendations are given to change sexual techniques to the selection of lubricants, the use of techniques to relax the muscles of the vagina. It is important to remember that the effective elimination of psychogenic dyspareunia is only possible if both partners have committed involvement.(4) (5)
- Rosen NO, Pukall C. Comparing the prevalence, risk factors, and repercussions of postpartum genito-pelvic pain and dyspareunia. Sexual medicine reviews. 2016;4(2):126-135.
- Varagnolo D, Knorn S, Melles R, Dewitte M. Qualitative modeling of pressure vs. pain relations in women suffering from dyspareunia. IFAC-PapersOnLine. 2017;50(1):2043-2050.
- Lee NM, Jakes AD, Lloyd J, Frodsham LC. Dyspareunia. Bmj. 2018;361:k2341.
- Portman D, Goldstein S, Kagan R. Treatment of moderate to severe dyspareunia with intravaginal prasterone therapy: a review. Climacteric. 2019;22(1):65-72.
- Arthur B, Chung MK, Brobyn T, LaRiccia PJ. Successful Treatment of Dyspareunia with an Integrative Medicine Approach: A Case Report. Integrative Medicine. 2019;18(6):38-41.
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