If you are having sexual pain don’t dismiss it as something “in your head” as it can be very real. As more than 30% of women reported pain during their last sexual encounter. There are many causes of sexual pain including: lack of lubrication, stress, genital fit, genital infections, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis and menopause. It is best to discuss your sexual pain with your doctor so they may provide the treatment options that may help.
Normally, the walls of the vagina stay lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. Estrogen helps to maintain this fluid and keep the lining of the vagina thick and elastic. When there is a drop in the estrogen it reduces the amount of moisture and may also make the vagina thinner and less elastic. It can lead to itching, burning and painful intercourse. This is called vaginal atrophy.
The estrogen level can drop from: menopause, childbirth and breastfeeding, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancer, surgical removal of the ovaries, anti-estrogen medications, douching, certain allergy or cold medications and antidepressants. Your doctor will discuss your situation and may do a pelvic exam to rule out other possible causes for your discomfort.