Painful Intercourse

What it is, how it manifests, and can physical therapy can help.

Painful intercourse, medically referred to as dyspareunia, is a very common condition characterized by recurring genital pain that occurs just prior to, during or after intercourse. There are two categories of painful intercourse in females; superficial and deep. Superficial dyspareunia is pain at the vaginal opening with initial insertion, whereas deep dyspareunia is pain with deeper penetration.

While it is more common in females, males can also experience painful intercourse, and if other pathology has been ruled out, the pelvic floor muscles could be a contributing factor. Painful intercourse can be caused by a range of structural, hormonal, traumatic, and psychosocial factors. The prevalence is reported to affect up to 18% of individuals worldwide and up to 46% in the United States.

It is important to know that pain with intercourse and intimacy is not normal and can be greatly improved through pelvic health physical therapy. Treatment often consists of a pelvic floor muscle evaluation, education on techniques for relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, vaginal dilator therapy, and an individualized home self care program.

Painful Intercourse
or related symptoms? Pelvic floor physical therapy can help.

Mendwell is a Pelvic Health Physical Therapy clinic serving patients in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and Tigard. Our team of specialists are passionate about helping patients improve pelvic function, relieve pain, and get back to feeling their best. Reach out to learn how we can help.

Other names for this condition

  • Dyspareunia
  • Pain with Vaginal Penetration