Causes of Vaginal Pain During Intercourse: Dyspareunia, Vaginal Atrophy, Endometriosis

According to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly 75 percent of women experience pain while having sexual intercourse at some stage of their lives. Pain felt during intercourse may be a short-term problem; however, some women may have long-term effects. This is not an uncommon problem where it cannot be treated. Treatment options will depend on the underlying problem you have.


If your vagina pain is caused by sexual intercourse, it is called dyspareunia. Women, at some point experience pain during intercourse and it can feel as though you’re being tortured. Dyspareunia is constant or periodically develops in women. Symptoms of dyspareunia include pain with penetration, even if a tampon is inserted, partners who are well-in-dowd, deep pain during thrusting, burning pain and aching pain. Sexual techniques can be applied such as switching positions, communicating, longer foreplay and lubricants. In addition to treating the condition, sexual techniques may not be enough, so medications or therapies will help. They include treating an infection, kegel exercises, counseling, sex therapy and postmenopausal women can undergo estrogen therapy.

Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) occurs when there is a decrease in estrogen causing the vaginal walls to become inflamed and thin. Women can develop vaginal atrophy if they are breast feeding, postmenopausal or if estrogen production decreases. Vaginal atrophy is associated with painful intercourse. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, burning sensation, burning with urination, frequent urination, urinary tract infections, light bleeding, discomfort with intercourse and tightening of the vaginal canal. Over-the-counter lubricant can treat minor symptoms, but other solutions to your problem are available if it is major. They include vaginal estrogen cream, vaginal estrogen ring, estrogen tablet or oral estrogen therapy.


Endometriosis develops in women whose tissue in their uterus (endometrium) begins to expand outside their uterus. When the tissue does not escape your body, the tissue begins to thicken and harden. This will cause severe pain while on a period or during intercourse. In addition, endometriosis causes infertility, heavy periods, painful urination or bowel movements, fatigue, diarrhea and bloating. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil and Motrin can provide temporary relief. Hormaonal therapies can treat the condition, which include birth control pills; vaginal rings; Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists; Danazol; Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera); Aromatase inhibitors; and in severe cases a hysterectomy may only be the solution in providing relief.