Dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, is a common problem in postmenopausal women. Learn more about treatment options with the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital.
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Dr Yong Tze Tein, Senior Consultant,
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group, painful intercourse (dyspareunia) is usually easily treated. Dr Yong shares treatment options and home remedies that may help.
Treatment for dyspareunia
A doctor will diagnose dyspareunia after taking a thorough medical history from the patient and carrying out a pelvic examination. Further tests such as a pelvic ultrasound, urine culture test, and allergy test may be required.
Dyspareunia treatment will depend on the cause. Physical causes are typically treated with medical intervention. Medications such as antibiotics and antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat infections while topical creams and lubricants may be used to relieve vaginal dryness.
Psychological causes may require counseling or sex therapy to revive communication and intimacy in the relationship. Exercises, such as Kegel exercises, may be recommended to improve control of the vaginal muscles.
“Dyspareunia in postmenopausal women usually occurs because of vaginal dryness due to fluctuating hormones. It is effectively treated with a cream or drug which releases small doses of oestrogen directly into the vagina,” says Dr Yong.
Treating dyspareunia at home
If you suffer from dyspareunia, you can take simple steps at home. These steps are best taken before you have sex. You can:
- Empty your bladder fully.
- Take a warm bath.
- Take a painkiller.
- Use a water-based lubricant.
- Apply an ice pack to the vulva.
- Communicate your pain to your partner.
“Changes to your normal sexual routine such as shifting positions can also reduce dyspareunia symptoms,” says Dr Yong. “Longer foreplay gives more time for stimulation and encourages natural vaginal lubrication.”
To learn more about symptoms and causes of dyspareunia, see previous page.