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What To Do When Sex Hurts

Occasionally I find sex somewhat painful…like it feels as if it is causing a stomachache or someone is punching me in the stomach. I wouldn’t say I am having “rough” sex but it sure feels that way. Is there ways to prevent this? Is this a larger issue?

Painful intercourse can be from a variety of causes including vaginal dryness, muscle spasm and even endometriosis or other genital pelvic problems.  Many medications including, allergy medications and over the counter medications can also cause vaginal dryness. Some women find that just positional changes during intercourse can help minimize the discomfort or pain, so finding a comfortable and pleasurable position is always important.

Pain on intercourse should not be neglected and should always be evaluated with a comprehensive history and physical examination- make an appointment with your gynecologist or general internists. He or she will likely do a complete history and physical examination and sometimes order specific tests like a pelvic sonogram to look at the uterus, ovaries and tubes.  Do not assume that the pain will resolve spontaneously — Sexual intercourse should never hurt!

The contents of this blog post by Dr. Michael Krychman, a sexual medicine doctor, on Her Campus website, such as text, graphics, and other material (“Content”) located at hercampus.com and its subdomains or aliases (“Website”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on the Website. If you have a medical emergency, call your physician/dentist or 911 immediately.

Michael L. Krychman, MDCM, is the medical director of Sexual Medicine and the executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine in Newport Beach, California. He formerly served as Co-Director of Sexual Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Associate Professor at Cornell Medical School in New York City. Previously on staff at Temple University Hospital and Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Krychman holds licenses from three states including California, Pennsylvania and New York. His clinical interests are diverse, ranging from chemotherapy-induced chemical dysparenia to management of sexual dysfunction in cancer and non-cancer patients. His special interests include sexual pain disorders, loss of libido, chronic medical illness and its impact on female sexual function, as well as breast cancer sexuality. Dr. Krychman has been involved with medical research, writing, and grand rounds presentations on diverse topics related to vaginal and cervical surgery; quality of life and pelvic exenteration; use of estrogen for urogenital atrophy; sexual challenges for pregnant and post surgical patients; and psycho-social aspects of breast cancer. Fluent in French and English, Dr. Krychman obtained his doctorate in medicine and masters in surgery from McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal, where he was named a “Great Distinction Medical Scholar.” Dr. Krychman is a published author and has served as a reviewer and editorial advisor for medical journals and co-authored chapters recently accepted for publication in two textbooks: Cancer, Sexuality, and Sexual Expression in Female Sexual Dysfunction, 1st ed., and Reconstructive Surgery and Rehabilitation in Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology, 4th ed. He recently authored A Hundred Questions and Answers for the Woman Living with Cancer: A Practical Guide to Female Survivorship, and has received both international and national recognition for his peer-reviewed articles and lectures on female sexual health. Dr. Krychman has also been featured in The New York Times and US News and World Report. The contents of blog posts by Dr. Michael Krychman, a sexual medicine doctor, on Her Campus website, such as text, graphics, and other material ("Content") located at hercampus.com and its subdomains or aliases ("Website") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on the Website. If you have a medical emergency, call your physician/dentist or 911 immediately.
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