Painful Intercourse: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 5/15/2017

Painful intercourse is medically known as dyspareunia. It can occur in women due to the involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles, a condition known as vaginismus. Painful intercourse can also occur as a symptom of genital infections, including the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Abnormalities or tumors of the female genital tract can sometimes cause bleeding or pain during intercourse for women. Some medications can result in insufficient lubrication and painful intercourse, and the lowered estrogen levels associated with perimenopause and menopause may lead to vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse.

Related Symptoms & Signs


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/15/2017
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