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Dyspareunia or painful intercourse

Dyspareunia or painful intercourse

Pain with intercourse is not fun for anyone! If you or someone who you know is experiencing these symptoms, read below to learn about possible causes, and how a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help. 

Grace Coombs ·
~2 minute read

What is dyspareunia?

Dyspareunia - pronounced ‘dis-pa-ru-nia” is defined by genital pain that can be experienced before, during or after intercourse. This can present in both males or females, and can occur at any life stage. Pain may be sharp, burning, aching or a combination of these. 

Dyspareunia is a symptom. Establishing the cause for this symptom is often the hard part.  

At Four, we have pelvic health physiotherapists who are trained in managing dyspareunia. We are skilled in identifying the likely causes of your pain, and working in a professional and sensitive manner to reduce your symptoms. 

What are some common causes of dyspareunia?

There are MANY different reasons that someone may develop dyspareunia. Common reasons that we see at Four include:

  • Postpartum hormonal changes, or maternal birth injury (eg. scar sensitivity or muscle injury)

  • Pelvic floor muscle tightness or spasm - vaginismus

  • Pelvic organ prolapse

  • Vestibulodynia

  • Endometriosis and/or adenomyosis

  • Menopausal hormonal changes

  • Infections or inflammation

  • Specific medications

  • Trauma or injury to the area

How can a pelvic floor physio help? 

A pelvic floor physio can help with your dyspareunia symptoms in many ways. The first step is to help you to identify the reason for your pain. From there we can discuss management options with you that best suit your presentation. Common management options include:

  • Pelvic floor muscle release work, stretching and relaxation

  • Abdominal and hip release work, stretching and relaxation

  • Advice around prolapse management 

  • Scar massage

  • Diaphragmatic breathing

  • Use of pelvic wands, dilators or biofeedback 

  • Referral to local gynaecologists and doctors who specialise in women’s health

If any of this sounds like you or someone close to you - you can book an appointment with one of our experienced women’s health physios here. 

Women's health