Problems with sex are often confined to the bedroom thanks to misconceptions and taboos surrounding the subject, and this is especially true for women. Yet, between 25% and 45% of women struggle with painful sex after they pass through menopause. Thanks to increasing awareness efforts and new technology, we’re able to address pain during intercourse, allowing you to take charge of both your sexual and general health.
At High Rock Internal Medicine, our team of experienced providers understands the far-reaching impact that painful sex can have on women, both physically and mentally. Our goal is to provide our female patients with the resources they need to remedy their discomfort and improve their lives. We truly believe that a healthy and enjoyable sex life leads to better overall health and wellness.
In the following, we review the potential causes of painful sex and, more importantly, what we can do about them.
Behind the pain
When it comes to painful sex in women, there’s a medical term for the problem — dyspareunia. Many women have some experience with painful sex during their lives, whether it’s a passing infection or a more chronic issue like the transition through menopause.
If you’re struggling with ongoing problems with pain during sex, our goal is to get to the bottom of the issue so we can help you find relief.
Far and away, the leading cause of painful sex is the passage through menopause, which is precipitated by a sudden drop in your reproductive hormones, primarily estrogen, but also progesterone. During your reproductive years, these hormones play a key role in your ovulation, but what many women don’t realize is that estrogen regulates far more than your eggs.
For example, estrogen plays no small part in maintaining the health of your vaginal tissue to encourage intercourse and childbirth. To accomplish this, the hormone ensures that your tissue has ample lubrication, elasticity, and tone. This means that when your estrogen levels drop off, the tissue inside your vagina can dry and thin — the primary complaints when it comes to painful sex.
These same issues can also occur after childbirth or after certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Addressing the pain through improved tissue health
If we find that poor tissue health is behind your pain during sex, the good news is that we’re equipped with the latest technology to boost tissue health. Called TempSure™ Vitalia, this innovative and noninvasive treatment allows us to deliver radiofrequency energy into your vaginal walls to improve circulation, decrease muscle spasms, and elicit a collagen response.
Most of our patients tolerate the procedure very well, and it only takes about 30 minutes to complete the treatment. In most cases, we recommend a series of Vitalia treatments for optimal results, and we space your sessions out by several weeks to allow time for your tissue to rebuild itself after each one.
Your results are gradual as you progress through your Vitalia treatments, with optimal results about 6-12 weeks after your final visit with us.
In less-common cases, where tissue health isn’t the issue behind your pain, we look for other possible causes, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Once we identify the underlying problem, we set you up with an appropriate treatment plan that should remedy the pain you experience during sex.
If painful sex is having an impact on your quality of life, please know that there are solutions. To get started, call our office at 336-477-9110 or contact us online to set up an appointment.