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Why sex is sometimes painful

An Abuja-based gynaecologist, Dr. Charles Anoti, said on Thursday that infections and pelvic tumours are the major causes of dyspareunia.

Dyspareunia is pain during or after sexual intercourse due to medical or psychological issues.

Anoti told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that development of a membrane that blocks the vaginal opening could also contribute to the health challenge.

He said the pain could be on the external surface of the genital or in the pelvis if pressured against the cervix.

The expert said that knowing the exact location and nature of the pain could help in identifying its cause and management.

Anoti, however, identified infections that affect the labia, vagina, as well as lower urinary tract as factors that could also cause pain during sexual intercourse.

He said that problems associated with childbirth such as the absence of a fully-formed vagina could be a risk factor to the development of dyspareunia.

Anoti also said that oestrogen deficiency, pain from bladder irritation, tumours such as ovarian cyst and fibroid, could also cause painful sexual intercourse.

He said that tissue injury, such as pain from surgery or vaginal birth, could also be the cause of dyspareunia.

Anoti told NAN that endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and ectopic pregnancy could pose a risk of developing the condition.

The physician said that pelvic adhesion and scaring, inflammation of the genital area and some medical treatments could cause the condition.

He said that vaginal dryness and thickened vaginal hymen also pose the risk to the development of the condition.


Anoti, however, attributed stress, anxiety and history of sex abuse as psychological factors that could contribute to painful sexual intercourse.

He said that prevention of dyspareunia starts from knowing the underlying cause, adding that those with history of sexual abuse should seek help from a specialist.

Anoti said that decreasing the risk of yeast infection and applying good hygiene are important to preventing the condition.

He suggested the use of cotton underpants as well as changing of underclothes after prolonged sweating as measures to help prevent the condition.

The physician also recommended the use of condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases to prevent the condition.

Anoti also advised women to urinate after sex to help prevent the condition and to wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid bladder infection.

The physician advised those with the condition to see their doctors to get the right prescription of medications.

He also suggested the use of over-the-counter lubricant as well as antifungal drugs to treat yeast infections.

He advised women with endometriosis and pelvic mass to seek surgical treatment in their efforts to overcome the condition.

Anoti also advised women to ensure adequate arousal before sexual intercourse, saying it was key to drastically minimising chances of painful sexual intercourse.

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