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Ouch! Why Sex Can Be Painful & What You Can Do About It

Posted Jul 23 2013 - 2:00pm
Tagged With: sex

First time with the hottie from your bio lab wasn’t all you thought it would be? Maybe you’ve been hooking up with the same guy for weeks, months, or even years, and suddenly, it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe you went at it a little too hard and you’re just a little sore, but there are a variety of infections and conditions that could be causing your pain—and you need to know how to safely handle ‘em. Whatever the issue, sex shouldn’t be a source of pain in your life. Her Campus has you covered to explain some of the basics behind something that should be a source of pleasure, not a problem!

Do I really need to be concerned?
According to Deborah Coady, doctor, author, and partial-owner of the women’s health care center SoHo OB/GYN, minor itching or irritation after sex that lasts less than one day probably isn’t a huge deal. Anything aside from that though should be cause for concern, she says.

“If pain occurs with each touch or penetration, continues as sex continues, occurs repeatedly after sex, this is not normal. And if pain with sex is burning, sharp, tearing, achey, radiating to the deeper pelvis, involves clitoral pain, bladder tenderness, or anal pain, has associated bleeding or burning secretions with it—none of this is ok, and should be checked by a medical professional,” she explains.

If it feels itchy…
An irritating itch that persists for several days after sex usually isn’t a good sign. Luckily for us collegiettes though, there are simple solutions for problems like vaginal infections, irritations, or dryness, all of which are complications that can arise after sex, and can be properly diagnosed and treated by your gyno. Typically, certain prescription medicines or creams will do the trick, while other times the solution is simply to avoid different scented products that may be aggravating the area. In addition to scented products, sometimes your allergy meds or other regular prescriptions can affect hormone levels in your body can cause this dryness or irritation. A gynecologist or other health care professional can help you pinpoint the culprit.

If visiting the ladies’ room hurts, or if trips are becoming more and more frequent…
Dr. Coady also explains that a condition known as painful bladder syndrome could cause sex to be painful. Find yourself running to the bathroom multiple times during a lecture or feeling pained when you need to pee, in addition to pain during sex? It could be PBS, especially if you’ve recently dealt with an infection in or around your vagina like a yeast infection. Having sex can often aggravate PBS, causing you even more pain. Different combinations of medicine, physical therapy, and changes in your day-to-day life (such as stress-reducing activities, choosing a workout routine that’s less intense, or dropping unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking) can all help treat, or at the very least lessen, the symptoms and side effects of PBS.

If it’s not PBS, a condition known as interstitial cystitis may be the cause of your pain. IC occurs when tissues of your bladder wall become inflamed and infected similar to how it feels when you get a urinary tract infection. Unfortunately, we ladies are 10 times more likely than men to experience IC according to the U.S. International Library of Medicine. As far as treatment options go, there are a variety of drugs or other medications that work for most people dealing with IC, as well as possible surgeries or therapies for more extreme or more painful cases. Certain foods or drinks such as citrus juices, alcohol, chocolate, onions, tofu, sour cream, and yogurt have been pinpointed as possible triggers of bladder infections and should be avoided as well if you suffer from IC.

Again, you need a gyno or doctor to properly diagnose and treat the above conditions, so if you are experiencing any of the related symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

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