The common causes of painful sex

Jade Room
The common causes of painful sex

It is not unusual for women to experience pain during sex at some point in their lives. This pain can be caused by a variety of factors including menopause, hormonal imbalance, insufficient foreplay and several other underlying medical conditions.

Here at The Jade Room, we believe it is vital for women to understand that they are not alone and that there is, in most cases, an effective treatment available.

Some of the most common reasons that prevent women from enjoying sex include:

 Vaginal Dryness

The vagina creates its own lubricant naturally. However, as women enter into perimenopause (the stage before menopause) and menopause itself (when periods stop), oestrogen levels and blood flow to the vagina begin to decline.

This results in the vaginal walls and tissue of the vulva becoming thinner and less elastic. When this happens women may experience vaginal dryness, itchiness and general discomfort. Cancer patients who have finished their treatment and who are in an artificially stimulated state of menopause can experience the same symptoms.

Topical lubricants can be used as a short-term treatment during sex, but for long-term results, laser treatment (known as the MonaLisa Touch) can be very effective. The non-invasive treatment works on rejuvenating the health of the vaginal walls and has been used for treating vaginal dryness and itchiness with high levels of success. The treatment is performed in a clinic environment (no hospital visit required), is painless and takes around ten minutes.


For some women, painful sex is the result of involuntary muscle spasms of the vaginal wall muscles, known as vaginismus. These contractions make vaginal penetration, pap smears, and tampons painful and sometimes even impossible. For some women, the cause of this condition can be linked back to emotional factors including traumatic sexual experiences, a fear of sex (sometimes arising from a lack of knowledge or religious beliefs), and anxiety, as well as physical factors, such as cysts, pelvic trauma or scarring.

The good news is that vaginismus can be treated by working with an experienced women’s health team which may include a doctor, physiotherapist, and psychologist.

Anatomical changes or deeper pain

Painful sex might be experienced as a result of certain changes to the vagina or due to conditions deeper in the pelvis. These include surgical scars, (e.g. episiotomy scars), endometriosis, STDs and ovarian cysts.

In each of these cases, depending on the severity of the case, there are treatment options available. A full examination by a medical professional is recommended and in most cases, treatment of the condition will help reduce the pain experienced during sex.

Urinary tract infection

Caused by introduced bacteria in the urethra, urinary tract infections (UTI) can be painful and debilitating. Symptoms include pelvic pain, pain upon urination, painful sex (due to the effects of the infection), and the need to urinate often.

UTIs are common in menopausal women because of vaginal wall thinning as well as the weakening of urethral muscle strength.

In the case of recurrent UTIs (usually related to hormone changes) the MonaLisa Touch can provide an effective treatment by rejuvenating the vaginal walls, improving overall vaginal health and allowing the patient to combat infections more effectively.


To determine the reasons behind painful sex, it’s important to speak to a doctor or gynaecologist for a diagnosis and to decide on a specific treatment. In addition, the team at The Jade Room offers complimentary consultations to determine if the MonaLisa Touch could be an effective treatment.


No referral necessary to see our women’s health doctor.


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