Dyspareunia is the clinical name for painful intercourse. The pain can be felt as burning, sharp, searing, or cramping. It can be external, within the vagina, or deep in the pelvic region or abdomen. Men can also experience it, though it is more common in women. Typically in men, the pain is felt in the penis but it can also be felt in the testes or internally, where it is often associated with a problem of the prostate or seminal vesicles.
There are many potential causes of dyspareunia; in fact, they can include psychological and physical causes as well as hormonal imbalance.
What causes dyspareunia?
The causes of dyspareunia, like most forms of sexual dysfunction, can be classified as either physical or psychological. The cause of a sexual dysfunction in a given person may be a combination of several factors, and in some cases, the precise cause may not be identifiable at all.
Many psychological factors can produce sexual dysfunction, including dyspareunia. Sometimes, past issues – such as sexual abuse or communication problems in a relationship – can translate into sexual difficulties. However, dyspareunia is considered to be primarily a physical rather than emotional issue.
There is a variety of physical causes of dyspareunia, including infections and scars on the vaginal tissue. However, a common cause of dyspareunia is the lack of the ability to moisten the vagina, which leads to painful intercourse. This vaginal dryness is usually produced by a decline in estrogen production. Therefore, women should get informed about ways to maintain estrogen at healthy levels.
If you suffer from dyspareunia caused by hormonal imbalance, it might have been produced by a fluctuation in the hormones testosterone and estrogen. Without a healthy level of these hormones in the body, women are unable to properly lubricate the vagina, leading to painful intercourse. This is the reason why maintaining hormonal balance is very important in dyspareunia treatment.
On way to raise estrogen levels is with synthetic hormones, but this medication does carry the risk of some side effects. Before you make the choice to take synthetic hormones, you should consider less risky approaches, like alternative medicine or lifestyle changes.
The three approaches for dyspareunia treatment
There are three levels of approaches to treating dyspareunia:
- (1) Lifestyle Changes
- (2) Alternative Medicine
- (3) Medications
You should always start with the least risky approach – lifestyle changes – and then go on to riskier approaches only if necessary.
(1) Lifestyle Changes
This level involves no risk but may be the hardest way to go. If you are considering this approach, you will need a strong will to stick to these changes.
Techniques for stress management, a diet rich in estrogenic foods (soy, alfalfa, rice, wheat, and yams), or even exercising regularly will have positive effects on your ability to have pleasant intercourse.
It's not easy to follow this approach, which is why you might want to consider the next level of dyspareunia treatment, because alternative medicine is an excellent way to control dyspareunia related to hormonal imbalance.
(2) Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine involves little or no risk and can be considered as the safest way to treat dyspareunia. In this level of approach, herbal remedies are the most effective option.
There are basically two types of herbs for dyspareunia treatment: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs (e.g., black cohosh, dong quai) contain plant estrogens. Therefore, these herbs replace the missing estrogen the body needs; unfortunately, phytoestrogen herbs can produce several side effects – such as an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes – as a result of adding hormones from outside, especially when used over a long period of time.
Unlike phytoestrogen herbs, hormone-regulating herbs don't contain any estrogen. Instead, these herbs nourish your hormonal glands, assisting them with the healthy production of your own natural hormones. This ultimately ends up in balancing overall hormones levels. Due to this, hormone-regulating herbs, like Macafem, can be considered the safest natural dyspareunia treatment.
From Nature & Health magazine, Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
A combination of dyspareunia treatments is a good route to take. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will probably take care of dyspaurenia in a more efficient way.
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for dyspareunia treatment in the U.S. is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There's no doubt that this is the quickest and strongest way to combat hormonal imbalance; unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different cancer types.
If you are still considering following this approach, visit to your physician and get informed about what this dyspareunia treatment option involves.
Remember that these three levels of dyspareunia treatments are not mutually exclusive. You can use different approaches at different times or combine several at the same time. Nowadays, more and more women think that the best dyspareunia treatment is accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.