Pain during intercourse isn’t common among couples—most causes are easily fixable while others are not. If you do have any pain during the action, it’s important to pay attention.
First things first: Determine whether the pain is transient (an occasional occurrence) or consistent (a regular problem you’ve had more than two or three times in a row).
Analyze the situation when the pain occurs: What’s going on in your body in that moment? Are you in an uncomfortable position? That will help your ob-gyn figure out for sure what’s going on. Here are the most common reasons you might feel pain during intercourse;
1. You’re Not Lubricated Enough
Having intercourse when you’re not fully lubed up can be seriously uncomfortable. “The tissues are not engorged and lubricated and ready,” says Dr. Coady.
Luckily, there’s a pretty easy fix. If you’re not getting naturally aroused, spend more time on foreplay. But even with foreplay, some women need a little extra help (and that’s totally OK). Look for a lube that’s water-based (i.e., formulated without oil) if you’re using condoms.
2. You Have An Infection
Yeast infections and urinary tract infections can make intercourse really uncomfortable. While these things are generally easy to treat on their own, they can be exacerbated (or first made evident) by intercourse. Your doctor will likely advise you to forgo intercourse while you’re being treated for the infection. If the pain doesn’t resolve, don’t be afraid to head back to your doctor for a follow-up. If there’s pain in the bladder and it’s consistent and antibiotics don’t work, that should really be evaluated.
3. You’re Constipated or Bloated
Both of these issues—especially bloat—can cause pelvic pain during intercourse. But, they should be short-lived. If it’s a consistent problem, let your doctor know.
4. Your Pelvic-floor Muscles Are Shortened, Overactive
The muscles in your female organ might tense up due to vestibulodynia, but it can also be a sign of more serious conditions like interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome.
These conditions can cause the muscles to become shortened or overactive, Dr. Coady says, because they’re reacting to another issue in your body. Your doctor may refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist.