What is dyspareunia?

Dyspareunia is marked by pain during sexual intercourse or other sexual activities involving vaginal penetration. Pain can range from a superficial irritation at the vaginal opening to a deep, intense pain felt internally near the pelvis. Where the pain is felt depends on the cause of the dyspareunia. Frequently, pain associated with dyspareunia will cause the pelvic muscles to contract during penetration, thus resulting in more discomfort.

What causes dyspareunia? 

There are many causes for dyspareunia. By determining where penetration pain is felt, one can gain a better idea as to the underlying cause. An open dialogue with your healthcare team is crucial to your diagnosis and treatment.

Common Causes of Superficial Vaginal Pain:

  • Inflammation or infection of the genital area or vagina 
  • Inflammation or infection of the urinary tract 
  • Allergic reactions to spermicides, personal lubricants or latex condoms
  • Radiation therapy to the vaginal area
  • Surgery that narrows the vagina

Common Causes of Internal Vaginal Pain:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic growths
  • Internal scar tissue due to surgery or radiation therapy

As causes of dyspareunia vary widely, it is difficult to lay out a “typical” treatment plan. That being said, dyspareunia is very treatable. At the Center for Women’s Sexual Health, we will work closely with you to determine a course of treatment that best fits your needs.


If you believe you have an dyspareunia, or would like more information about pain associated with dyspareunia and the options for treatment, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers in Grand Rapids, MI.