Painful intercourse can be the result of a vaginal bacterial, yeast, or viral infection. It can also be the result of vaginal dryness or a decrease in the production of estrogen. Skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, that cause rashes or lesions may also make intercourse extremely painful. Nerve damage or conditions that affect the muscles may cause muscle spasms that can make it difficult for penetration to occur. Women who are going through menopause may experience painful intercourse due to both vaginal dryness as well as a decrease in the muscle tone of the vaginal walls. Ovarian and uterine cysts are also capable of causing pain during intercourse.
If menopause or a lack of estrogen is the cause of painful intercourse, the main method of treatment is taking the necessary steps needed to increase the amount of estrogen in the body. This can be accomplished through the use of birth control medications or hormone replacement therapy. If the cause of pain is associated with vaginal dryness, topical creams and ointments that contain estrogen may be effective. Lubricants can also be used during sex to provide lubrication and keep tissues moist and pliable. If a woman has recently had a medical procedure involving the reproductive organs or has recently given birth, it may be beneficial to wait longer than the normal six to eight weeks to allow for sufficient healing to occur.
When vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are directly attributed to menopause or another condition in which estrogen levels have dramatically decreased, hormone replacement therapy may be the most effective treatment available. In situations where a woman has her ovaries surgically removed either on their own or as part of a hysterectomy, the body's ability to produce sufficient amounts of estrogen is greatly reduced. While estrogen is produced in other areas of the body, the amounts are minimal and will not prevent noticeable symptoms from occurring. Hormone replacement therapy provides ample amounts of estrogen to replace what was lost due to the removal of the ovaries.
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