Pain with Sex
One of the more common issues surrounding endometriosis involves pain during and after intercourse. This is something that can be problematic for a woman in so many ways. The pain a woman experiences during or even following sexual intercourse can affect their desire to want to attempt this kind of intimacy.
An article in the Huffington Post, explained that “Penetration or thrusting during intercourse can stretch, pull or push against the misplaced endometrial tissue, known as endometrial implants, in the pelvis”.1 Depending on what these endometrial implants are attached too, there can be a variation in the pain a woman undergoes. In the case that “the implants are on nerves, ligaments and tissue stretched during sex, pain can be significant and, often, unbearable lasting hours and days”.1
My personal experiences
My personal experiences with endometriosis and sex is really broken into two sections. These sections are the early years of my life with endometriosis and the more recent years since I went through with a hysterectomy. While some aspects are similar, other aspects are quite different.
I have had endometriosis since I was 14 years old. It only took a few years before doctors used medications to place my body into a medical menopause. While this treatment option managed most of my endometriosis pain, it did not help with the pain associated with sex. I would still have pain during sex. Sometimes being intimate would be so painful that I simply could not tolerate it at all. Other times the pain was more tolerable. It was rarely enjoyable enough to me that I sought it out. Sometimes the pain would be worse depending on the position or the momentum being used. Rather it did or did not hurt during sex, I always hurt afterwards. This post-sex pain could last for a couple days for me. I am talking heating pads, hot showers, or hot baths. The pain would present itself in my lower back and abdomen, like period pain. I would also have bloating.
Now that I have had a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, things have been different. Before this surgery, I never had to worry about things like vaginal dryness. The pain that I previously had related to sex and endometriosis had been due to penetration and thrusting. The vaginal dryness is painful in a different way. Even when adding moisture to the vagina, issues can arise when that moisture is absorbed. This can turn a pleasurable experience into a painful one, even an uncomfortable one for the partner. Even now, I can have tenderness and bloating after sex.
The pain associated with sex can affect couples. When there is not open communication, some partners may fear trying to initiate or bring up sex. Women may feel like the need to tolerate the pain to not lose their partners. The loss of intimacy can be something both individuals struggle with managing.
Has intimacy with your partner been affected because of endometriosis symptoms?