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Why Does Intercourse Hurt?

Pain during intercourse for women is fairly common, with nearly 3 out of 4 women experiencing it at some point. This affects both your relationships and your own personal happiness. It can also indicate a serious underlying health problem. Painful intercourse can affect women of all ages.

If you’re experiencing pain during sex, Dr. Neeraj Kohli and Boston Urogyn can diagnose any underlying problems and provide treatments and therapies that relieve your pain and help you enjoy sex.

Some of the reasons sex may hurt:


Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to your uterine lining starts growing outside your uterus. Normally, your body breaks down and sheds your uterine lining when you have your period. However, when you have endometriosis, this abnormal tissue becomes trapped inside your body. It may also spread to your fallopian tubes and ovaries. In addition to painful intercourse, endometriosis can cause pain when your urinate or have your period, as well as diarrhea, bloating, and nausea.


Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines your uterus grows into the muscular walls of your uterus. The tissue doesn’t break down as it’s supposed to during your menstrual cycle, resulting in an enlarged uterus. This can cause painful, heavy periods, severe cramping, and chronic pelvic pain, which making sex difficult and painful. Adenomyosis can also lead to complications like chronic fatigue and anemia.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection that spreads throughout the female reproductive system. PID often follows a bacterial sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, but it may occur even if you’ve never had an STD. PID doesn’t always cause symptoms, so you may not know you have it. However, PID may cause pelvic pain, heavy and foul-smelling discharge, bleeding between periods, and painful urination.


Vulvodynia is a chronic condition that causes pain, burning, and irritation around your vaginal opening. The pain may be constant or come and go, and it could affect your entire vulva or only a specific area. You may only experience symptoms in response to pressure or touch, but they may happen without any apparent cause. Symptoms can make sex, or even sitting for long periods, just about impossible. Unlike some other causes of genital pain, vulvodynia doesn’t have visible signs.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs located either in or on an ovary. Though ovarian cysts are quite common, and can come and go on their own without causing any problems, they may rupture (break) or cause your ovary to twist, known as an ovarian torsion. These complications cause severe pelvic pain and bleeding, among other symptoms that interfere with sex.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are common noncancerous growths that you may develop at any point during your childbearing years. They can vary in size, and you may have one or several. The smallest fibroids usually don’t cause symptoms. However, a large fibroid, or multiple fibroids can enlarge your uterus, causing symptoms that include pelvic pain and heavy, prolonged periods.

Note that painful sex is not always the result of a serious condition. It’s normal to experience difficulties with intercourse after childbirth or menopause because of changes to hormone levels, and plenty of medications can affect your sexual response and desire. No matter your age and other medical issues, you may simply need to use more lubrication.

You deserve to have pleasurable, pain-free sex. Don’t worry that you may not have a serious enough medical condition to report it to Dr. Kohli. He’s happy to find out what’s causing your problems and help you find a solution. Make an appointment with Dr. Kohli at Boston Urogyn online or over the phone.

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