|Print This Page Email to a Friend|
Many women with endometriosis experience pain during intercourse. Usually described as an intolerable burning sensation, a sharp stabbing pain or a deep aching – painful sex can be an all too familiar reality for women living with endometriosis. Sometimes the pain lingers anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after intercourse and may be accompanied by vomiting and nausea, and possibly confusion and depression.
The good news is, endometriosis doesn’t have to be the end of your sex life. Here are some tips to help you understand your condition and how to talk to your partner and doctor about your pain.
Knowing your body is an important part of living with endometriosis. The size and location of your endometrial tissue growths affect the amount of pain you may experience during sex (also known as dyspareunia). Your vagina is an elastic organ; with endometriosis, cell growth may cause tissues and ligaments to bind together, leading to stiffness and pulling on structures within the pelvis. So when intercourse is thrown into the equation, the results can be quite painful.
While it may be uncomfortable to begin conversations concerning sexual pain with your partner, ignoring the problem can be detrimental to your relationship, causing emotional distance and future aversion to sex. Good communication helps you both learn what to avoid for mutually pleasurable intimacy.
Painful sex can be one of the earliest signs of endometriosis. If you’re experiencing sexual pain, don’t hesitate to talk about it with your OB/GYN. Visiting your doctor with your partner can also ease communication and validate your sexual experiences.
Endometriosis doesn’t have to control your sex life. “Communicating with your OB/GYN is the key to learning alternative therapies to manage your pain during sex,” said Dr. Aviva Stein with Charlotte OB/GYN, part of Carolinas HealthCare System. Depending on the location of your endometriosis, your OB/GYN may suggest medication, exercise, pelvic therapy or different sexual positions to minimize your pain.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. He or she can assess your individual circumstances and offer recommendations to make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you think you may have endometriosis, your OB/GYN physicians can help diagnose and co-manage your condition with our endometriosis specialists. There are a variety of treatment options, including medical management, therapy and surgery. If you do not have an OB/GYN physician and would like help finding one, call 704-355-7500.