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Normalizing Sex

I’m a sexual health expert and here’s the 5 reasons sex can be painful

SEX is supposed to be a pleasurable experience.

But sadly for some women, it can be painful, making the encounter extremely uncomfortable.

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If you're struggling in the bedroom then one doctor has revealed what your painful sex could actually be down toCredit: Getty
Dr Siyamak Saleh there are numerous health conditions that could make it uncomfortable for you under the sheets

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Dr Siyamak Saleh there are numerous health conditions that could make it uncomfortable for you under the sheetsCredit: tiktok/doctor.siya

It can be frustrating if you do struggle with sex due to pain and one doctor has revealed the five things this could be down to.

Posting to TikTok, Dr Siyamak Saleh there are numerous health conditions that could make it uncomfortable for you under the sheets.

Dr Saleh has previously shared his expertise on issues such as masturbation and orgasms.

In his latest video, Dr Saleh said one of the main causes of painful sex for women is vaginal spasms, also known as vaginismus.

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Vaginismus is the involuntary tightening of the muscles around the vagina whenever penetration, whether its with your man or using a sex toy, is attempted.

Even using tampons or a visit to the gynaecologist can leave sufferers in agony.

Vaginismus can completely disrupt a woman's sex life and cause her to lose all confidence in the bedroom.

The second cause of pain he said, could be down to infections such as STIs and thrush.

Most read in Women’s Health

Sexually transmitted diseases are serious with some STIs causing infertility, blindness or paralysis if left untreated.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK – and is easily passed on during unprotected sex.

Other STIs include human papilloma virus (HPV), gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis.

Other less common STIs – which you may want to get tested for – include HIV, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs) or scabies (mites).

Thrush is a common yeast infection that affects most women at some point in their lives.

It can be uncomfortable and itchy but is usually relatively easy to treat.

Some women however struggle with thrush systematically and find it difficult to get ride of.

Dryness

Dr Saleh explained that the third reason you might experience pain during sex is down to vaginal dryness.

This he said, is often seen in women who are going through the menopause.

This dryness can make sex hard to enjoy as there is no lubricant.

More than half of women don't tell their doctors about it, research suggests.

It's a simple condition caused by fluctuations in a woman's sex hormones – and there are plenty of treatment options available to ease the discomfort.

When should I see a doctor?

The NHS says that if you have pain during or after sex then you should seek medical attention.

Your GP will try and find the route cause of the issue and will be able to tell you if you need any treatment.

For example if you have pain, discharge and itchiness then they may refer you for an STI test or recommend treatment for thrush.

If you are suffering from a dry vagina due to a condition like menopause then you would be advised to use lubricant.

If you are suffering from emotional distress then you might also be referred to a mental health service.

It's important to note that pain during sex doesn't just affect women and men may also suffer with the below issues which could cause them pain during sex:

  • thrush
  • tight foreskin
  • tears in the foreskin
  • inflammation of the prostate gland
  • testicle pain and swelling

Source: NHS

Illness

The fourth reason as to why you might be experiencing pain during sex is due to illness, Dr Saleh said.

These illnesses can include fibroids and endometriosis, he said.

When you have endometriosis penetration can pull or stretch the irrigated tissue, causing pain.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition which occurs when tissue which is similar to the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb – in areas of the body including the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, the abdomen and the bladder.

Depending on where fibroids form and their size and number, discomfort during intercourse is one symptom.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that can develop in or around the uterus.

They are made from muscle and fibrous tissue and can vary in size.

The condition can also interfere with your sex life due to irregular menstrual bleeding and muscle cramping.

Emotional factors

Another reason as to why you might experience pain during sex, Dr Saleh said is due to emotional factors.

If you're struggling with your mental health and suffer with issues such as depression and anxiety then this can make sex painful.

This is because you may have lost your libido and when you do come to have sex, you struggle to become aroused.

He added: “Other causes include: lack of arousal, skin disorders, previous pelvic surgery, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)”.

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