You may experience discomfort, burning or even pain during a relationship. The important thing is to identify the cause and treat it.

According to statistics, 10-15% of women of child-bearing age suffer from pain during sexual intercourse. In medical terms we talk about dyspareunia and it is a problem that can have different causes, all of which can be solved, but it is good to talk about it with a gynecologist to research the cause, and avoid ruining the couple’s relationship and their sexuality.

Let’s look together at the main causes of dyspareunia.

Different grades

The pain can be defined as mild if during or after intercourse there is a burning and discomfort, but this is a temporary disorder.
Instead, we talk about moderate pain if we feel sick during intercourse, but we can complete the sexual act.
Finally, pain is considered intense when penetration is not possible.

A malformation

One of the causes that can give rise to dyspareunia is represented by malformations of the reproductive system. These are situations, such as the presence of a resisted hymen or a fibrous septum that divides the vagina, present from birth that jump out only with the first sexual intercourse. The girls who have these malformations, actually quite rare, are unable to have sexual intercourse, but the situation can be resolved with a simple surgical operation that involves the incision of the hymen or fibrous septum, bringing the situation back to normal. These are transactions performed in day ospital.


Infections with Candida, Chlamidia or other fungi and bacteria that cause sexual diseases are among the most common causes of dyspareunia. They often cause burning and pain in relationships without other symptoms. In many cases it is cystitis or urethral infections that affect sexual intercourse because they cause constant inflammation. To detect these infections you must undergo a vaginal swab or a urine culture and, following the indications of the doctor, follow an antibiotic or antifungal cure.

Benign diseases

Another very frequent cause of pain in intercourse is represented by endometriosis, when it affects the vagina.
Even the cysts of Bartolini’s glands or the presence of myomas in particular positions in the uterus can cause dyspareunia. In these cases, following a gynecological examination, the cause of the problem is treated either with drugs or surgery.

After giving birth

After an episiotomy (cut of the perineum) a scar is formed which, if it is very deep, can give rise to pain in post-partum relationships. This is usually a temporary disorder, which passes on its own within a few weeks. To facilitate the resumption of relationships after childbirth, the doctor can recommend lubricating gels. In rare cases, however, the scar is very deep and a small operation may be necessary to fix the suture.

The stress

The underlying causes of painful sex are not always physical. Sometimes, in fact, any psychological trauma or stress can interfere with sexual serenity. Possible difficulties in the life of the couple, for example, can manifest with pain in relationships, and dyspareunia can also affect women who experience particular work or family tensions. We must therefore exclude any physical causes and assess their psychological difficulties, perhaps with the support of an expert.

Other causes

Finally there are other causes that lead the woman to feel pain during intimate relationships:

  • vulvodynia;
  • anticancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy that can create fibrosis in the vaginal and uterine tissues;
  • menopause.


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