HOW TO STOP PAINFUL SEX INSTANTLY


Pain during sex is a common problem for women.

As many as 75% of women will experience pain during sex at some point, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For many women, the pain is rare or happens only once, but for others it’s persistent.

"Women tend to blame themselves or blame their symptoms on something they did, when it’s not their fault they’re having these problems."

Some women will stop dating or stop being intimate with their partners because it hurts too much. It’s important to talk to your doctor and get that pain diagnosed, because it is treatable."



Sex isn’t supposed to hurt

Just because painful sex is very common, that doesn’t mean you should accept it as "normal." The occasional minor soreness may be nothing to worry about, but you shouldn’t be dealing with intense chronic pain.

Sex should be a pleasurable experience, and if it’s not, speak up to your partner—and your doctor.


Dryness is the most common cause

Dryness is common in menopausal and post-menopausal women, though younger women can experience it as well. Dryness can not only make sex painful, it throws off the vagina’s balance of good bacteria, which can result in infections that contribute to painful sex.

'Try using a lubricant if dryness is causing you pain during sex.


Endometriosis

You've probably heard celebs like Lena Dunham, Julianne Hough, and Sarah Hyland speaking out about their struggle with endometriosis, a condition where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. In a 2014 Journal of Sexual Medicine study, 75 percent of women with endometriosis also suffered from pain during sex. Deep penetration can put pressure on areas where endometriosis occurs, such as the ligaments attaching your uterus to your pelvis or the lining of your pelvis, and make intercourse painful.


Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles

Your pelvic floor (a group of sling-like muscles that support your uterus) is supposed to relax during sex. But in some women, these muscles constrict, often as a result of difficult childbirth, sitting too much of the day, or past sexual abuse.

Pelvic floor muscle spasm is far and away the number one most under-recognized cause of painful intercourse. Not a lot of doctors are looking for this cause-sometimes they just tell a woman she has a tight vagina, which is ridiculous.

Signs to look for: a burning, throbbing sensation at the entrance of your vagina, which can last for hours or days after sex.


A History of Urinary Tract Infections

If your medicine cabinet is regularly stocked with antibiotics, you may be predisposed to penetration pain. In a 2013 study, Italian researchers found that women with "provoked vestibulodynia"-a type of pain triggered by pressure around the vaginal opening-had a higher number of UTI's than pain-free ladies.

Infection leads to nerve hypersensitivity. "Normally, nerves calm down over time. But if you get another infection within a couple weeks or months, those nerves never have time to relax." That means the entrance to your vagina is incredibly sensitive, so much so that even attempting penetration can be intolerable. (Excessive use of antibiotics may lead to recurrent infections too, triggering severe inflammation and a greater risk of pain around your vulva.) Try following these tips for preventing UTIs, and reconsider having sex when you have a UTI.


You're Not Lubing Up

If you're not sufficiently wet, you'll likely feel pain during penetrative sex of any kind. A drop in estrogen (a common side effect of menopause, childbirth, or breastfeeding) could be to blame for a lack of lubrication, or you just may not be aroused enough. In this case, the fix is simple: first, take your time with foreplay. Second, try silicone-based lubricants, which tend to be slicker than water-based varieties. (FYI: Everyone can benefit from lube..)


Uterine Fibroid

Uterine fibroid (a type of rubbery growth in your uterus) may set your sex life on fire-and not in a good way. "Pain with fibroid tends to be a quick, fast, sharp pain. In a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study, women with fibroid were three times more likely to report severe pain during sex than those without the growths.

Fibroid can indent into the vagina, and the act of hitting them can be incredibly uncomfortable. Another cause of discomfort: As fibroid increase in size, they may die off, leaving your uterus inflamed and primed for pain.


A Tilted Uterus

Women with a tilted uterus have a higher risk of endometriosis (a common cause of sexual pain), An off-kilter uterus may also be directly linked to pain during sex: When the top of the uterus is tilted back, the penis can hit that. That can lead the supporting tissues to stretch, ultimately causing pressure and pain. Other signs of a tilted uterus: menstrual pain, back pain during sex, UTI's, and trouble using tampons, according to the American Pregnancy Association.


A New Baby

Nearly half of nursing women reported pain six months after childbirth, compared to 30 percent of new moms who weren't breastfeeding, a 2014 study in the International Urogynecology Journal found. Vaginal delivery can also cause tearing and nerve damage (ouch!) and breastfeeding may temporarily affect your body's ability to lube up during sex which can definitely cause pain.


Stress

Anxiety alone probably won't make sex painful-but it can set you up for a number of conditions that trigger tension below the belt. Stress often causes changes in the pH of the vagina, which can lead to bacterial infections. A bad case of the nerves may also cause pelvic floor muscle spasms while reducing your overall tolerance for pain too.



Treatments are available

Dryness is common in menopausal and post-menopausal women, though younger women can experience it as well. Dryness can not only make sex painful, it throws off the vagina’s balance of good bacteria, which can result in infections that contribute to painful sex.

'Try using a lubricant if dryness is causing you pain during sex.


Don’t suffer in silence

If sex hurts, and especially if it hurts to the point you’re avoiding it or want to stop, it’s time to see a doctor. I recommend seeing a gynecologist about problems related to sex, as they’re more likely to be able to accurately diagnose the cause of the pain.


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