dyspareunia in females
Last edited 03/2018 and last reviewed 03/2021
Dyspareunia or painful sex is a condition which presents as recurrent or persistent pain with sexual activity (1).
- this is common but neglected problem causing distress, decreased sexual functioning and enjoyment, relationship difficulties and reduced quality of life (2)
- it may be associate with or lead to other female sexual dysfunction disorders e.g. - decreased libido, decreased arousal, and anorgasmia (1)
- population prevalence is estimated to vary from 3 to 18% globally, and lifetime estimates range from 10 to 28% (3)
Dyspareunia may be classified as:
- superficial (entry) - pain confined to the introitus
- deep - pain experienced deep in the pelvis during intercourse
- primary – pain occurring since onset of sexual activity and thereafter
- secondary – occurring after previous sexual activity that was not painful (1)
Significant risk factors and predictors for dyspareunia include:
- younger age
- education level below a college degree
- urinary tract symptoms
- poor to fair health
- emotional problems or stress
- a decrease in household income greater than 20% (1)
- peri- or post-menopausal women
- (1) Seehusen DA, Baird DC, Bode DV. Dyspareunia in women. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(7):465-70.
- (2) Kao A, Binik YM, Kapuscinski A, Khalifé S. Dyspareunia in postmenopausal women: A critical review. Pain Research & Management : The Journal of the Canadian Pain Society. 2008;13(3):243-254
- (3) Mitchell K, Geary R, Graham C, et al. Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey. Bjog. 2017;124(11):1689-1697.
factors predisposing women to chronic pelvic pain
assessment of female dyspareunia