If you are experiencing regular pain during sex this can be a source of embarrassment and concern. Something that is enjoyable and a source of pleasure has become uncomfortable. Painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia, has many causes and affects nearly all women at some point during their lifetime. While it may be a fleeting issue for some, for others this problem may become long term.
Causes of Painful Sex
If you suddenly experience pain during sex this could be a sign of a gynecological problem such as fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts. Other causes of painful sex include:
- Hormonal fluctuations (e.g. perimenopause)
- Vaginitis: inflammation of the vagina
- Vaginismus: tightening of the muscles near the opening of the vagina
- Skin conditions
- Urinary tract infections
- Vulvodynia: a pain disorder that affects the vulva
Pain can take on many different forms. Some women experience deep vaginal pain, while others may notice muscle spasms or cramping during or after sex. While painful sex may often be physical, when there are no physical problems it’s also important to consider that the problem may be psychological.
The goal of your gynecologist is to pinpoint what’s causing pain during intercourse as soon as possible so that a treatment plan can be created. During your checkup, your OBGYN will ask you questions about your symptoms, as well as medical history. From there, a physical examination and pelvic exam is performed to check for signs such as cysts or fibroids, which could be leading to pain. Depending on your sexual history and the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor may also recommend getting STD testing to rule out any sexually transmitted infections.
Sometimes an ultrasound or other diagnostic testing is needed to further evaluate the reproductive organs to pinpoint problems. There are some simple measures you can take to try and alleviate pain during sexual intercourse. Some of these options include:
- Taking a warm bath prior to sex
- Using a lubricant
- Talking with your partner
- Applying an ice pack to the area if burning occurs after intercourse
The treatment that your gynecologist will recommend will depend on the cause of your pain. For example, a urinary tract infection can easily be treated with medication. If women experience pain as a result of the effects of menopause they may be given an estrogen vaginal cream to treat atrophy of the vaginal walls. Vaginal relaxation exercises and behavioral therapy may be recommended for certain conditions such as vaginismus, to reduce muscle contractions and tightening around the vagina.
If you are experiencing persistent pain during sex that is taking the enjoyment out of being intimate with your partner it’s important that you turn to an OBGYN who can help you figure out what’s going on and how to best treat it.
Uterine fibroids are a common problem, affecting women of reproductive age. Sometimes these benign tumors don’t cause symptoms, so a woman may not even realize that she has fibroids until she visits her OBGYN for an annual checkup. Fibroids may be detected during a regular pelvic exam; however, further testing such as an ultrasound is usually needed for a diagnosis.
What Are Fibroids?
Sometimes fibroids can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain, bowel and urinary problems, pain during sex, and heavy bleeding. While these tumors are benign and very prevalent they can affect fertility; therefore, it’s important that you see a gynecologist once a year for a full gynecological checkup even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. The symptoms you experience depend upon how many fibroids are present, as well as their location and size.
Since fibroids affect women differently there isn’t just one way to treat them. Often, your gynecologist may recommend just watching and monitoring the fibroid if you are experiencing little to no symptoms. Since fibroids usually grow slowly or don’t grow at all there isn’t much concern that the fibroid will continue to grow if left untreated.
There are also medications that your OBGYN can prescribe to treat issues affecting your menstrual cycle such as heavy bleeding or pelvic pain. These medications won’t get rid of fibroids but they can shrink them. Common medications used to treat uterine fibroids include gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, a progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) and tranexamic acid.
If the fibroids are large or causing severe symptoms then your gynecologist may suggest surgery or noninvasive procedures also geared toward removing the uterine fibroids. One such procedure uses a noninvasive MRI-guided ultrasound surgery in order to destroy fibroids while also preserving the healthy uterine tissue. There are also minimally invasive procedures such as a uterine artery embolization or laparoscopic myolysis. Women who are looking to get pregnant may not be right for some of these procedures; therefore, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of these treatments before deciding on the best approach for treating fibroids.
If you are experiencing symptoms of fibroids it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist to find out what’s going on. Even though these growths are benign it’s still important to make sure that you are getting the treatment and care you need to reduce symptoms and potential complications.
Find out how this simple facial could rejuvenate and drastically brighten your skin.
Here at Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta, GA, our gynecologist, Dr. Lillian Schapiro, understands the desire for beautiful, smooth looking skin. This is why we are happy to offer HydraFacial! This treatment has quickly become an incredibly popular way to improve skin’s firmness, tone, and overall appearance—read on to learn why!
How does a HydraFacial work?
The HydraFacial is a non-invasive resurfacing treatment performed right here at Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta for patients who wish to provide intense hydration to their skin while also reducing the appearance of common imperfections. There are four steps involved in getting a HydraFacial:
Step 1: Cleanse the skin and remove any impurities
Step 2: Exfoliate to remove any dead skin cells and oil that might be clogging pores
Step 3: Extract and vacuum away any blackheads, dirt, and oil with the HydraPeel Tip
Step 4: Hydrate and infuse the skin with serums
What can the HydraFacial do for my skin?
This simple, painless aesthetic treatment can greatly improve your skin by evening out tone/texture, reducing the appearance of odd pigmentation, and plumping the skin to make it look younger and more hydrated.
Most people can benefit from this facial, as it can treat people of all ages and with any skin type. However, those that stand to benefit the most from HydraFacial are teens and adults who are dealing with acne, wrinkles, or uneven skin tone, as well as older women who have sun damage. Conversely, those with active sunburns and rosacea may not be right for this treatment.
Is there any downtime associated with a HydraFacial?
There are no side effects or downtime associated with this treatment, so patients can go right back to their normal routine immediately after. Of course, it’s highly recommended that you don’t put on makeup for the rest of the day to allow the skin to soak up as much of the serum as possible and to give skin a chance to breathe.
How often can I get a HydraFacial?
You will see that the results of this facial will last longer than other facials; however, based on the issues you wish to address with the HydraFacial, our doctor may recommend coming in every 4-6 weeks for treatment.
Give us a call!
If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of HydraFacial first hand, call Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta, GA, today at (470) 312-3696 to book an appointment.
Find out why visiting your OBGYN every year is crucial to your health.
We all lead busy lives. Between picking kids up from school, juggling work and the family schedule and putting food on the table, it’s no wonder that it might be challenging to schedule your next haircut let alone a doctor’s appointment. But if you aren’t keeping up with your annual gynecological visit find out why you should make this a top priority.
The long and short of it is that these annual gynecological exams can save lives. Sure, they aren’t the most comfortable exams, but they could protect you from breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. Most of these cancers don’t display outward symptoms right away, so the only way to actually detect them is through these annual exams.
By avoiding these yearly exams you run the risk of infections, undiagnosed health conditions and even unintentional pregnancies. By coming in to see your OBGYN every year you can reduce your risk.
When should women start getting annual evaluations?
By the time a woman reaches 21 years old they should start coming in yearly for these exams. Of course, if a woman becomes sexually active at an earlier age, she should start coming in sooner.
Why are some other reasons why I should visit my gynecologist?
Beside the obvious health benefits there are so many other things that your gynecologist can do for you and your health. We can discuss menstrual issues, determine the cause of your abdominal pain and discuss different birth control options.
What do annual exams involve?
When you come into the office, you can expect that we will discuss your medical history before we perform a routine physical exam. We want to find out as much about your family history, past hospitalizations and health problems, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Then we will perform a physical exam to check the health of your uterus and ovaries. A Pap smear may also be performed (about every three years), in which we collect a few cells from the cervix to check for the presence of cancerous cells. This test is the best way to detect cervical cancer early on when it’s much easier to treat.
As you can see, visiting your gynecologist once a year is vital to good health. Preventive care is the best way to detect issues early on when they are much easier to treat. These visits will provide you with the care and piece of mind you need to continue leading a healthy life.
Coming in to see your OBGYN once a year is an important part of every woman’s health. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms these examinations could prevent issues from happening and can allow your doctor to detect problems early on when problems are often much easier to treat. If we detect any suspicious growths or other symptoms during your pelvic examination then we may recommend getting a biopsy. There are different diagnostic biopsies that we may recommend depending on the symptoms and issues you are experiencing.
This biopsy is often performed if a Pap test or other diagnostic test detected abnormal cells in the cervix. In some cases, if you’ve been diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV) you may also require a cervical biopsy since some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer. A cervical biopsy may also help determine if the abnormal cells are potentially precancerous.
There are a few different ways that a cervical biopsy can be performed. Of course, no matter what technique is used, a cervical biopsy will need to remove a sample of the abnormal tissue for testing. Cervical biopsies are performed by a punch, cone or endocervical curettage method.
Just like a cervical biopsy removes a sample of tissue from the cervix, this specific biopsy will remove a sample from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). This biopsy may also be one way that your gynecologist can check hormone levels that can affect the health of your endometrium. This type of biopsy may also be recommended if you are experiencing irregular, heavy or long-term bleeding and aren’t sure of the cause.
This procedure is a great way for your OBGYN to check the health of your cervix, vagina, and vulva to look for any signs or symptoms of the disease. Just like with a cervical biopsy, a colposcopy may be recommended if your Pap test came back abnormal. During your colposcopy, a small sample of tissue will be removed and examined. This diagnostic procedure is a great way to detect and diagnose certain issues such as cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix), precancerous tissue or genital warts.
If you have questions about your upcoming biopsy or if you are experiencing any symptoms or changes then it’s time you visited an OBGYN who can help you.
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