Monday, December 17, 2007
DOCTORS say that the average healthy woman should not feel pain during sexual intercourse. But fact is, many women suffer with this problem, and it subtracts from the enjoyment of the sexual act, and many times prevent the sufferer from reaching orgasm.
Medical doctor and chief executive officer at the Andrews Memorial Hospital, Dr Grace-Ann Cooper, says there are two types of dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) - superficial and deep.
While superficial affects the opening of the vagina, deep affects the internal area, for example the womb."Once you start experiencing deep pains it means that something is wrong and it is time to visit your doctor," Dr Cooper said.
She explains that superficial pain is a lot more common in women with one of the main cause being inadequate lubrication. She notes too that sexual technique can also play a major part in both superficial and deep dyspareunia.
Causes of deep pain
* Problems with the cervix - the man's penis hits the cervix at the farthest extent of his thrust.
*Womb trouble - various womb disorders, including fibroids.
* Endometriosis (a condition in which the tissue normally lining the womb (or uterus) grows on different organs outside the uterus) - this very common disorder often affects the womb and surrounding tissues. It makes them very tender, particularly near the monthly period. The pressure of the penis on an area of endometriosis may cause intense, deep pain.
* Ovary problems - cysts on the ovary can cause deep pain, as well as if the tip of the penis hits an unusually positioned ovary.
* Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - this is caused by infection, largely due to chlamydia that has gone untreated.
* Ectopic pregnancy - this means a pregnancy outside the womb, usually in the Fallopian tube. Pressure on it can be very painful.
Causes of superficial pain* Vaginal and vulva infections - These are very common. While there are a number of them, the one that huge numbers of women get is thrush. The blisters of herpes can also be really painful.
* Foreign body in the vagina - The usual culprit is a forgotten tampon. It may cause pain, especially if the tampon leads to an infection.
* Psychological - a restrictive upbringing, in which the woman was brought up to view sex as nasty or dirty.
* Childhood trauma - a background where rape or childhood sexual abuse has taken place. Experiences like these understandably make women fearful of sex and of being hurt.
* Tension - unease with their partner - perhaps at an unconscious level.
* Well-endowed partner.
* Menopausal or post-menopausal dryness - This is usually due to a fall in female sex hormones.
* Cancer - This is a rare cause of intercourse pain, but a possibility in women who have never experienced pain before age 40.
You can safely disregard one isolated episode of pain during sex. But if the pain keeps on happening, you shouldn't feel you have to put up with it and pretend to be enjoying sex just to please your partner. Visit your gynaecologist instead. -