Pain during sex? You're not alone
Photo ©: Deklofenak - Fotolia.com
Pain during sex is quite common for women, and it can have a huge impact on your relationship. Unfortunately, little research has been done in the area and we’re far from understanding exactly why this is the case.
What we do know about pain in and around the vagina (vulvovaginal pain) is that it has a tremendous effect on women’s intimate relationships and that’s why we’ve made studying it a priority at the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health.
Pain during sex can be caused by a number of things including a lack of lubrication, childbirth and nervous system disorders
Vulvodynia, which causes itching, stinging and burning around the entrance of the vagina, is one of the most common causes of the problem.
Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz says the following about vulvodynia on his show: “The pain of vulvodynia can occur unprovoked or it can be triggered by direct contact. It can be constant or intermittent, mild or excruciating, and it can last for six months or longer. Childbirth, physical trauma, past surgery, scarring, and certain neurological conditions are known to activate vulvodynia.”
Nobody knows the actual cause of the problem, says Oz, but it’s thought that nerves in the vulval region might be overstimulated or even entangled for genetic or hormonal reasons, causing pain. Still, even though information on the syndrome is scant, there are ways to manage this type of pain no matter the cause.
Experts suggest a “multi-modal” approach to treatment
In other words, there is no single “cure” but combining different therapies can help you manage the pain and the effect it has on your life. Alongside a medical doctor you might see a physical therapist, a massage therapist and a psychotherapist, too, to help you deal with the physical and emotional effects of vulvodynia and its impact on your relationship with your partner.
Partnering with the US National Vulvodynamia Association, an American NGO that focuses on vulval pain (pain on the outside of the vagina), we’ve created an online tutorial to help women learn how to manage vulvodynia. Everything You Need to Know about Vulvodynia is an easy-to-read guide to the problem that will help you communicate with your doctor if you are, or think you might be, a sufferer.
The Patty Brisben Foundation is also funding research to resolve the cause and symptoms of vulvodynimia so women can lead happy, healthy sexual lives. What we do right now is share as much information as we can with as many women as we can in the hope that more sufferers will seek treatment.
We can aspire to give women who experience pain during sex hope that someday they will feel like themselves again and be able to enjoy healthy, pain-free sex. One of the most powerful tools every human has is their mind. If we look for the positive, we will find it. Believing in yourself and your health is almost as important as the research itself, so be informed and be empowered.
While I’m not a medical doctor this post has been written with the help of medical doctors on the Pure Romance board.
Patty Brisben is a sex and relationship expert and founder of the Patty Brisben Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to researching and furthering women’s sexual health. She is also the founder of Pure Romance, a woman-to-woman direct seller of intimacy aids that focuses on empowering and educating women. Visit www.pureromance.co.za to find out more.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our free Health Tips Newsletter.
Latest from "Health Articles" ...