Here we take a look at the symptoms and causes of dyspareunia or painful intercourse. We also take a look at Ayurvedic remedies and treatments for painful sex.
Sexual intercourse can become painful for various reasons that range from structural problems to psychological concerns. The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-nee-uh).
Dyspareunia is defined as a persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs in women just before, during, or after sexual intercourse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a global prevalence of painful intercourse ranging between 8% and 21.1% in 2006.1
- Pain during entry (penetration)
- Pain with every penetration.
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
These symptoms can occur even while using tampons or other objects.
Causes Of Painful Sex 2
Any lesions for the lower part of the labia minora or around fourchette.
Narrow introitus, tough hymen, Bartholin gland cyst, tender perineal scar, vulva infection, or other urethral pathology.
Vaginitis, vaginal septum, tender scar, vaginal tumor, vaginal atrophy or vaginal atresia.
Pelvic floor muscles tend to tighten in response to stress in your life. This can cause pain during intercourse.
- Chronic cervicitis.
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Retroverted uterus.
- Prolapsed ovary in the Pouch of Douglas (recto-uterine pouch).
- Emotions are deeply intertwined with sexual activity, so they might play a role in dyspareunia as well.
Medical Diagnosis of Dyspareunia
Your gynecologist or general physician might ask you questions regarding the type and location of pain you’re experiencing.
Do not hesitate to share candidly with your doctor because it will help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
There might be per speculum examinations or internal digital examinations like per vaginal and per rectal examinations to exclude any mass felt or painful lesions.
A pelvic ultrasound may be recommended.
Treatments For Painful Sex 2
- Emptying the bladder before sex can help reduce the pain.
- Take a warm bath after sex.
- Treat the infected lesions of the vulva, cervix, and or vagina.
- Excision of tender scar tissue in the perineal area.
- Non-drug therapies and counseling might also help with dyspareunia.
Desensitization therapy: Vaginal relaxation exercises that can decrease pain.
Counseling or sex therapy: Talking to a counselor or sex therapist can help resolve psychological issues.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT can also be helpful in changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Ayurvedic Perspective On Painful Sex Or Dyspareunia
Maitunaasahishnutha is the Sanskrit term used for describing painful intercourse in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda believes that this type of pain is due to irregularities in the body’s Vata dosha. Ayurvedic treatments and remedies that bring Vata to equilibrium are found to be effective in treating dyspareunia.3
Occasionally it may be due to infections (most probably originating from Pitta irregularities).
A sitz bath in warm water can be helpful in bringing the Vata dosha to equilibrium. It also relaxes the pelvic muscles.
Oil enemas with oils like sesame oil can also be effective for relieving pain.
Tampons dipped in oil can be left inside the vagina for 2 hours. This helps with lubrication and can help mitigate pain during intercourse.
Make sure your bladder is empty before inserting a tampon. Tampons are contraindicated for dysmenorrhea (white vaginal discharge) because it could indicate an underlying infection.
Yoga poses like the butterfly pose (baddha konasana) help in relaxing pelvic muscles.
Formulations like kumarayasava (a fermented herbal drink) and gandharva hasthadi kashayam (herbal decoction) have been found to be very effective in reducing Vata irregularities.
Tablets like chandraprabhavati can be given for treating any infections or cysts in genital areas.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the remedies and treatments for dyspareunia/painful sex mentioned in this article.
- Sorensen, James, et al. “Evaluation and Treatment of Female Sexual Pain: A Clinical Review.” Cureus, Cureus, 27 Mar. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5969816/
- C. Dutta’s Textbook of Gynecology. 6th Edition chapter 33 page no 568.
- Charaa samhita chikitsasthana edited by Yadviji Trikamji Chaukamba Surbharati Prakash Varanasi 3rd edition chapter 30 verse 61