PCOS occurs when a woman’s body produces elevated levels of male hormones, leading to various symptoms like irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and excess facial and body hair. The hormonal changes linked to PCOS can affect sexual health, contributing to issues such as reduced libido, vaginal dryness, and difficulty achieving orgasm. Among the distressing symptoms, pain during intercourse, known as dyspareunia, is prevalent in PCOS. Factors related to PCOS, such as hormonal imbalances causing vaginal dryness and thinning of vaginal walls, contribute to discomfort or pain during intercourse. Additionally, heightened susceptibility to infections, like yeast infections, further increases the likelihood of experiencing pain during sex.
What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) impacts 5-10% of women, manifesting in various symptoms. Among these is dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, which can be distressing as it contradicts the supposed enjoyment of the activity. While occasional pain during sex is common for most women, recurrent instances warrant attention, as they may signal an underlying and potentially serious concern. Dyspareunia itself is not a standalone disease but can stem from medical, emotional, or physical factors related to the genitalia or sexual organs. Seeking relief for regular occurrences is crucial, as it helps address the root cause and ensures a more comfortable and fulfilling sexual experience.
How Does PCOS Affect Your Sex Life?
Discomfort during sexual activity is frequently reported by women, and various factors and conditions can contribute to this phenomenon. Even emotions such as stress or self-consciousness alone can render sex physically uncomfortable. Additionally, when dyspareunia initially stems from a medical condition, it has the potential to escalate into stress, impacting the intimacy within a relationship. It’s noteworthy that many women grappling with painful sex or pelvic pain may not exhibit detectable diseases; nevertheless, the absence of apparent pathology does not negate the existence of a real cause for their discomfort.
Understanding Pain & Discomfort During Sexual Intercourse
Discomfort during intercourse could indicate gynecologic issues like ovarian cysts or endometriosis. It may also result from sexual response challenges, such as diminished desire (the inclination for sexual activity) or inadequate arousal (the physical and emotional changes triggered by sexual stimulation). You may experience discomfort in the vulva, vestibule (area around the vaginal opening), or inside the vagina during intercourse. Pain commonly occurs in the perineum, and sensations of discomfort may extend to the lower back, pelvic area, uterus, or bladder.
The specific origins of pain during intercourse in PCOS are not fully elucidated. Nonetheless, research indicates that several factors may contribute to this symptom, including:
Women with PCOS may encounter reduced vaginal lubrication, resulting in discomfort and pain during sexual activity.
PCOS-related pain during intercourse may stem from pelvic floor dysfunction, characterized by weakened or tight muscles supporting pelvic organs, leading to discomfort during sex and potential urinary or bowel issues.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Beyond the previously discussed factors, additional elements can exacerbate PCOS-related pain during intercourse. Hormonal imbalances, specifically elevated androgen levels in women with PCOS, may contribute to vaginal dryness, intensifying discomfort during sex. Furthermore, irregular periods associated with PCOS can result in a thinning of the vaginal walls, heightening vulnerability to pain during intercourse.
For women experiencing pain during intercourse due to PCOS, heightened stress levels may exacerbate their symptoms. This is attributed to the potential of stress triggering tension in the pelvic floor muscles, subsequently contributing to discomfort and pain during sexual activity.
Painful intercourse is often attributed to prevalent issues like bacterial and yeast infections. Common culprits include bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis (a yeast infection), and cervicitis, characterized by an infected and inflamed cervix. Among these, a yeast infection is particularly prone to causing discomfort during sexual activity.
Women who have delivered sizable infants may experience minor tears in the vagina, which typically heal over time. This occurrence is more prevalent, especially when forceps are used during the baby’s delivery.
Talk To a Doctor or Healthcare Professional
Although numerous effective treatments exist for managing PCOS-related pain during intercourse, some women may encounter challenges in symptom control. In such instances, consulting a specialist in sexual medicine or a PCOS expert becomes crucial to exploring more advanced treatment options. It is essential to recognize that PCOS-related pain during intercourse can substantially affect mental health and overall quality of life. Women grappling with this symptom should not hesitate to seek professional assistance from healthcare providers or therapists to address the emotional repercussions of this condition. At Veera Health the PCOS experts have an individualistic approach towards each customer.
Learn More With Veera
By implementing specific lifestyle adjustments consistently, you can not only effectively address the symptoms but also minimize the chances of encountering complications associated with painful sex. For personalized support and expert care from a team well-versed in PCOS, consider joining Veera Health’s dedicated PCOS program!