Painful Sex is a Sign of Infection

Painful sex is a seldom talked about, but frequent problem in women. Women can get aroused as they have sex, and sometimes lack of initial arousal is mistakenly perceived as the cause of some discomfort.

Generally speaking painful sex, also called dysparunia, is not a normal condition, and while it can be due to lowwer levels of estrogen, and decreasing male hormones, even those of the adrenal gland during times of the cycle, perimenopause, or during times of stress, newly painful sex is more likely due to infection.

When a woman has either lower hormone levels or a new low grade infection the pH of the vagina and the lining of the vagina are the first things to change.

Pain that becomes chronic can lead to more serious conditions such as vulvar vestibulitis or vaginismus; so painful sex should never be ignored or self treated and you should have a gyno appointment.

Estrogen is important for the whole urogenital tract to remain healthy, so even the urethra and the tissues near the anus can become affected when the levels of estrogen decline as women get older. With some vaginal infections the symptoms are dryness, vaginal discharge, burning with urination, itching of the vaginal area, and itching of the area of tissue between the vagina and the rectum known as the perineum. In severe cases women will report bleeding after sex, bleeding after exercising or spot bleeding unexpectedly. Some just report a yellow, or sticky green or brown discharge that is very bothersome.

Infections have to be cleared up before addressing possible underlying causes that made you prone to infections. This is one of the first steps we discuss even for those seeking advice for treatments such as the MonaLisa Touch Therapy.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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