Dyspareunia is recurrent or persistent genital pain experienced just before, during, or after sexual intercourse. Although this condition can occur in both men and women, it is more common in women.
Menopause is one of the main causes of dyspareunia. It can also be caused by not having enough lubrication because of a lack of sexual arousal and stimulation. Certain medication, such as antihistamines, may also cause dyspareunia as a side effect.
The cause of dyspareunia may also be related to psychological factors, although this is less common. Some examples include:
Previous sexual trauma, such as rape or abuse
Feelings of guilt
Negative attitudes toward sex
These factors may lead to a condition called
vaginismus. This is painful and involuntary contractions of vaginal muscles. It is usually a response to past sexual trauma or other painful circumstances, but it can also be the result of chronic irritation from a physical cause.
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