Types of Pelvic Pain

Do You Have Pain With Intercourse?

If so, you are FAR from alone! According to The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 12, Issue 4 of April 2015, a recent study found that one out of three women experience pain with intercourse during their most recent sexual experience. Yes, you’re 1 out of every 3 women!

Pain with intercourse is only a temporary problem for some women. Unfortunately for millions of other women, painful intercourse becomes a chronic problem that greatly interferes with their ability to have sexual relations, and can cause deep emotional pain and problems that go far beyond their relationship with their partner.

If you’ve been experiencing pain with intercourse for a number of months, and if your doctor hasn’t found a way to help you get out of pain, NOW is the time to take charge of your journey toward becoming pain-free.

That journey begins with educating yourself on all the types of chronic pelvic pain conditions that can cause pain with intercourse. Why? Because doctors are NOT trained to diagnose the entire range of problems that can cause intercourse pain, let alone successfully treat them. Endometriosis and other well-known culprits are NOT the only types of chronic pelvic pain.

Have a look at some of the most common conditions that can trigger pain with intercourse:

Vaginismus

This is a condition where a woman’s pelvic floor muscles tighten or go into spasm when anything enters her vagina, such as a tampon or penis, making penetration extremely painful. Vaginismus causes a vaginismic reflex that is very similar to your eye involuntarily shutting when an object comes very close to it.

Vulvodynia

(also known as Vulvar Vestibulitis or Vestibulodynia)

This is a condition where women experience a burning pain in their vulvar region, or only in their vestibule (which is located at the very opening of their vaginal canal). There are two types of vulvodynia: generalized vulvodynia or provoked vulvodynia.

• Generalized Vulvodynia – With this type of vulvodynia, a woman feels constant burning in her vulvar region and possibly her vestibule as well. She feels continual pain in this area even when she is not being touched there.

• Provoked Vulvodynia –With this type of vulvodynia, a woman feels pain in her vulvar region or vestibule in response to physical touch or contact of any kind. Women with Primary Provoked Vulvodynia have experienced this pain ever since they first tried to insert a tampon or have intercourse. Women with Secondary Provoked Vulvodynia begin to experience this pain after originally enjoying a pain-free sex life.

Interstitial Cystitis

Women with this painful bladder condition have pain while urinating and can experience urgency about going to the bathroom as frequently as 40-60 times a day. IC pain can extend beyond a woman’s bladder as it can also cause pain in one’s lower tummy, lower back, pelvis, urethra, vulva and vagina. This syndrome can cause terrible pain with intercourse.

Endometriosis

This is a condition where the tissue that makes up the uterine lining leaks out onto other organs in the body, most commonly in the lower abdomen. Women with endometriosis have intense pain with their periods and with intercourse that includes deep thrusting.

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

The International Society for the Study of Women’s Health (ISSWH) defines PGAD as, ͞a persistent or recurrent, unwanted or intrusive, bothersome or distressing, genital dysesthesia (abnormal sensation) unassociated with sexual interest.͟This is a horrendous disorder that can cause women deep embarrassment, shame and physical pain.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

This is a condition caused by varicose veins in the lower abdomen. Women can feel a very dull ache in their abdomen area that can be exacerbated by standing.

Uterine Fibroids

These are solid tumors in the uterus which are usually non-cancerous. Symptoms of uterine fibroids include abdominal distension, intense cramping, and very heavy menstruation. Large fibroids in the uterus can also cause penetrative sex to become extremely painful.

Pudendal Neuralgia

The pudendal nerve runs through the clitoris, labia, perineum, rectum and anus. When pudendal nerve gets damaged, this can cause burning pain in these areas that very often results in painful intercourse.

Lichen Sclerosus

This is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease of the skin on the vulvar region and anus. Women with this condition feel severe vulvar itching, burning, pain, tearing, decreased clitoral sensation, and other troubling vulvar skin changes. All of these symptoms cause terrible pain with intercourse.

Lichen Planus

This chronic autoimmune skin disease can affect various parts of the body. One in four women with LP experience erosions in the mucous membranes of the vulva and vagina. This causes the skin in the vulva and vagina to begin to resemble wax paper.

Clitoral Phimosis

This is a condition where the skin covering known as the prepuce begins to scar over the clitoris. Women with this condition have pain when their clitoris is stimulated.

Lichen Simplex Chronicus

This condition is caused by chronically scratching itchy skin and is often caused by an initial allergic reaction, fungal infection or an irritation caused by excessive heat and moisture. Once the itching and scratching begins, a vicious cycle develops in which the scratching causes the skin to produce mast cells, which in turn secrete histamine, which is a protein that causes even more scratching. Women with this condition in their genital region sometimes scratch so hard that they create pits in their skin that result in painful intercourse.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the sweat glands in the genital area. HS causes a woman’s sweat glands to become clogged in ways that can cause these glands to become so infected that abscesses and fistulas develop. These can leave holes in the vulvar skin that can cause sex to become extremely painful.

How About YOU?

Which of these conditions do you suspect (or know) are contributing to your intercourse pain? Accurately pinpointing the source(s) of your pain is the first step on your journey toward becoming as pain free as you possibly can.