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Causes of Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is commonly called painful intercourse and can vary in the way that symptoms present themselves.  Often caused by physical or emotional factors, understanding the causes of dyspareunia can help alleviate pain and make intercourse and life more enjoyable.

Pain during intercourse may be caused by a variety of conditions which may include:

  • Irritation from prior trauma to the area
  • Injury from accidents, surgeries or childbirth
  • Congenital Abnormalities such as imperforate hymen or other factors that make it difficult for penetration
  • Vaginal muscle spasms
  • Eczema or other skin problems
  • Lack of sufficient lubrication which may be caused by lack of foreplay or low estrogen levels that occur after menopause and childbirth.
  • Deep pain caused with penetration that may be caused by PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Fibroids on the Uterus
  • Tipped or Retroverted Uterus
  • Endometriosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Scarring from prior surgeries
  • Cancer treatments
  • Emotional factors such as stress, psychological problems or a history of sexual abuse.


It is often difficult to determine if psychological factors are the leading cause of  dyspareunia or not.  The initial pain may lead to a future fear of the pain returning again and again which will in turn make it nearly impossible to relax during intercourse.  Not being able to relax will likely result in more pain during intercourse due to tight muscle contractions.

If you find that certain activities create more pain within your body, it is advised that you stop the activity that is associated with the pain until you can talk to a qualified consultant.

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