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Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(Painful Sexual Intercourse)

Definition

Dyspareunia is repeated or lasting pain with sexual activity.

Causes

Some causes are:

  • Prostatitis—swelling of the prostate
  • Urethritis—swelling of the urethra
  • Inflammation of the foreskin
  • Trauma to the penis
  • Herpes or genital warts
  • Allergies or irritations of the penis
  • Peyronie disease

Risk Factors

The risk of this problem may be higher in men with viral or bacterial infections.

Symptoms

A person who has pain during sex may feel:

  • Pain during any or all phases of sexual contact
  • Stabbing or aching pain
  • Itching and burning

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked about your sexual history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Other tests may be done to look for a cause.

Treatment

The cause will need to be treated. Some choices are:

  • Supportive care, such as soaking the hip and buttocks in warm water
  • Mental health therapy

People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery. It may be done to treat foreskin and erectile problems.

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES

Family Health—American Academy of Family Physicians  https://www.familydoctor.org 

Urology Care Foundation—American Urological Association  https://www.urologyhealth.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Urological Association  https://www.cua.org 

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-prostatitis-chronic-pelvic-pain-syndrome. Accessed February 25, 2021.

Engeler D, Baranowski AP, et al. European Association of Urology (EAU). EAU guidelines on chronic pelvic pain. EAU 2015.

Revision Information