Pain During Intercourse: Should I See a Gynecologist?

If you have pain during intercourse, you may be wondering if you should see a gynecologist. First and foremost, you should know it is suboptimal and abnormal to have pain during what is supposed to be a pleasurable activity. So, yes, you should get medical advice and treatment from a gynecologist if pain interferes with your sexual life.

Happy couple on the beach.

Causes of Dyspareunia

Painful sex is known as dyspareunia. Pain can be present upon penetration, during thrusting, or even when inserting a tampon. Some women suffer with throbbing pain hours after intercourse, and many women experience painful sex at some point in their lives.

There is usually a clear reason for pain during intercourse, so speak with Virginia Women’s Health in Reston, VA about your symptoms.


Vaginitis is a vaginal inflammation caused by a bacterial or yeast overgrowth. It causes irritation, discharge, burning, itching, and tenderness. As long as it is bacterial, antibiotics will clear the problem.


When a woman has a decrease in estrogen, the vagina becomes dry and penetration can be difficult and painful. Your gynecologist may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT), creams, and/or rings with estrogen. A longer arousal time can also help.

Vaginal Injuries

Women who have given birth to large babies can have injuries causing painful intercourse. If the birth was recent, it would be wise to wait a little longer before attempting sexual intercourse.


Vaginismus is a condition where vaginal muscles contract and spasm. It might be due to previous abuse, or fear and anxiety about sex. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss this with your gynecologist.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STDs can lead to irritation and pain during sex.

Genital Herpes

Blisters and sores near the vaginal opening cause pain during penetration.

Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen Sclerosus causes skin on the genitals to become scaly and inflamed.

Psychological Issues

Some causes of pain during intercourse can be due to psychological issues. If this is the case, Virginia Women’s Health may refer you to a therapist for help.

No matter the reason for your discomfort, it can be treated so you will enjoy sex again.

Don’t hesitate to contact Virginia Women’s Health at (703) 435-2555 if you are experiencing pain during intercourse. We can help.