One of the main reasons that women avoid sexual intimacy is because it is uncomfortable or painful. Dyspareunia is the medical diagnosis for painful sex. This health problem affects self esteem and intimate relationships. Women get exams over and over that often show nothing abnormal. They are treated by their partners8 and physicians like they are crazy. Their complaints are considered an excuse to get out of making love. The pain and frustration impacts their whole life. Some female health problems only affect sexual intercourse but even normal activities like bike riding can be impacted. Pain is constant. This article will cover the causes of bladder and vaginal pain during sexual intercourse and other physical activities.
Vulvodynia (vulva, vaginal pain): Estimated that more than 200,000 women suffer from it. It real numbers go under-reported and is often missed by physicians. Vulvodynia is not an infection or sexually acquired disease. If the pain only occurs at the vaginal entrance after touch or pressure, it is called vulvar vestibulitis syndrome. It is not seen on physical exam unless the area is really raw or swollen at the time. It is not diagnosed by pap smears, vaginal smears, or lab work.
Impact on Health: painful sexual intercourse affects intimate relationship; pain is experienced when sitting too long; bike riding, horse back riding, and other activities may cause pain. Tight clothing causes pain.
Symptoms: vulva and surrounding tissue burns, stings, is raw, sore, throbs, becomes swollen and painful. It feels and hurts like a cut. At times there is severe, sharp pain. Sexual intercourse is painful and the area stays sore for several days. In many women it is so severe, sexual intimacy is impossible.
Cause: Unknown but hormonal issues are suspected. It tends to occur in women who have overall hypersensitive skin and suffer from Fibromyalgia. It is considered to be part of autoimmune diseases. For its treatment go to http://women.webmd.com/vulvodynia?page=2. There is a diet that is helps relieve symptoms. You need to restrict chocolate and nitrate foods. Calcium citrate is taken at bedtime with a full glass of water to dilute urine concentration.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC or painful bladder syndrome): It is estimated that 1 million women suffer from this health problem and thousands of others misdiagnosed. Most urologists are not familiar with the disorder. You have the symptoms of a painful bladder infection, but the urinalysis shows no bacteria, protein, white cells or blood. Antibiotics have no effect on IC. The doctor is looking for a standard bladder infection. This is not an infection but instead inflammation and ulceration of the bladder lining. The lining is ineffective at protecting the bladder wall. The lining becomes sensitive, irritated, inflamed, swollen, and eventually ulcerates. On examination with a camera it shows a bladder wall that is scarred and stiff. It is very painful. Women go from doctor to doctor complaining of bladder pain only to be told there is nothing wrong with them. It can only be diagnosed by patient history and with a camera sent up into the bladder. Ultrasound will not show the scarring.
Symptoms: discomfort and pain in the bladder; pelvic and lower abdomen pain; lower back pain; urgent need to urinate; pain on urination; vulva or vagina pain; severe abdominal bloating; pain on drinking coffee, ice tea, any drink that is acid; pain after eating hot, spicy foods; and painful sexual intercourse; Sexual intercourse may be painful with IC. They are not sure what causes it. It is considered an autoimmune disease. Most women suffer years of misdiagnosis and pain.
Treatment includes the dietary restriction of acid foods and drinks such as coffee; soothing herbs such as wild yam and slippery elm; reduction of stress; and increase in pure water intake. To learn about standard medicine treatment options visit this page. Another great resource for help and new research is at Interstitial Cystitis Association at www.ichelp.org/
Vaginal Dryness: During the years before and after menopause, women have more hormonal imbalances, especially estrogen. Inadequate estrogen hormone causes the vaginal tissue to become thinner, less elastic and more prone to bruising or tearing. Women need to use a lubricant on tissues at the beginning of foreplay. Avoid scented and heated jellies and creams. An estrogen cream applied to the area on a daily basis can help with this problem. Women who have clotting problems should ask their physician if the cream is safe for them to use.
Vaginal Tightness: May be due to stress causing the vaginal area to be tense; negative feelings toward having sex; resentment toward sexual intercourse; or an abnormally small vaginal entrance.
Vaginismus: severe vaginal muscle spams are experienced during foreplay or sexual intercourse. This condition can be caused from sexual abuse. The fear and pain caused from sexual abuse can effect women for years preventing them from having a healthy, joyful intimate relationship later on in life. Counseling may be needed to overcome Vaginismus. Spasms may come from scaring and damage caused during the abuse.
Pelvic Pain: pain experienced during deep sexual penetration. Pain may be caused by adhesion in the uterus; cervical, uterine, or tubal infections; Endometriosis; ovarian cysts; uterine fibroid tumors; or internal scaring from sexual abuse.
Vaginal Infections: Yeast and other female infections may make the area raw. Sexual intercourse causes friction which results in more rawness and irritated tissue.
Vaginal Irritation: causes include vaginal sprays, douches, and deodorants; bubble bath or bath oils; scented tampons, pads, and soaps; contraceptive foams and creams; scented lubricants; allergic reactions; fancy under ware made from nylon or other materials; foods used on vaginal area to increase excitement; massage oils; vaginal creams to increase sexual pleasure.
It is wise to get a complete medical exam to rule out infection and other problems. If the physical exam and vaginal smears show nothing, then look to some of the other causes listed in this article.