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What Causes Pain During Sex?

By November 11, 2015 August 25th, 2018 Sexual Health

Disclaimer: These are remedies I have tried myself, and I recommend using them with care and caution. I am not a doctor. I am a writer who has struggled with chronic pelvic pain and I tried these remedies when nothing else worked. Again, when in doubt, talk with your doctor. Use these remedies at your own personal risk. 

For some women, the cause of painful sex is obvious and easily diagnosed by a doctor. Conditions such as endometriosis or vaginal cysts are quite common and treatable. But what about mysterious vaginal pain?


If you’re experiencing painful sex, but your doctor hasn’t been able to help you, there are some things you can do to treat it naturally.


5 Common Causes of Painful Sex

It is estimated that 1 in 7 women experience chronic pelvic pain. That means many women just like you live with some type of discomfort during sex.


Here are 5 common reasons sex may be painful and what you can do to treat it:


1. Chronic Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis, otherwise known as BV, affects millions of women worldwide. Symptoms include a whitish discharge on the vaginal walls, a fishy odor, itching and/or burning in the vaginal area, and painful intercourse.


Even if you don’t have all of the above symptoms, you may still have chronic bacterial vaginosis. It is caused by a disruption in the natural acid balance of your vagina and, if you’ve been diagnosed with it once, the chances of it returning are very high.


You can treat bacterial vaginosis at home by using a combination of high-quality probiotics and raw, organic apple cider vinegar (with the live, active cultures called the “mother”).


Each day, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a four-ounce glass of water and drink. Take your probiotic supplement orally at night. You can also insert a probiotic into your vagina at night before bed.


2. Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is just a fancy word for “unexplained vaginal pain”. Pain may occur at the entrance to the vagina (called vulvar vestibulitis) or be felt during deep penetration due to inflammation of the cervix.


The cause of vulvodynia is largely unknown, but it has been linked to environmental allergies, which can trigger chronic yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. You can treat vulvodynia at home by getting rid of all scented feminine products.


Also, do not take bubble baths, use bleached tampons, or wear scented menstrual pads. Wear breathable cotton panties only and don’t wear underwear to bed unless you’re on your menstrual cycle.


Add a quality probiotic supplement to your diet to clear any infection and try douching with raw, organic apple cider vinegar once a month after your period. This can help restore natural pH balance and put an end to painful sex.


What you’ll need:

  • A bulb syringe
  • Raw, organic apple cider vinegar
  • Warm water


Fill the bulb syringe with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Pour warm water on top of it. Douche in the bathtub, pat your skin dry, and clean the syringe thoroughly before putting it away.


In the case of chronic urethritis, which is another common cause of painful sex, a combination of organic cayenne pepper and neem oil can temporarily alleviate pain.



What you’ll need:

  • An organic cotton swab
  • A pinch of organic cayenne pepper
  • A dab of neem oil


With clean hands or using gloves, dip a cotton swab into a jar of neem oil until the tip is saturated. Dip the saturated tip into a small pinch of cayenne pepper. Hold the mixture directly against your urethra for a count of 30 seconds. Remove. Throw away the cotton swab.


Note: I have personally used this remedy and it works well if done on a consistent basis, such as every night for several weeks. However, please understand that cayenne creates a burning sensation. Use very little until you know how much you can comfortably tolerate. If you accidentally put too much on, use coconut oil and a clean rag to wipe it off. Water won’t work. 


Capsaicin (cayenne) works by blocking substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to your brain. When used topically over time, your brain will no longer receive messages that you feel pain in your urethra.


Neem oil is a natural, broad-spectrum antimicrobial with the ability to kill Candida yeast. (If you are trying to conceive, you should avoid neem oil as it is a natural contraceptive.)


3. Retroverted Uterus

Many women are not aware that they have a tipped or retroverted uterus until they get pregnant. When you have a retroverted uterus, your uterus is tipped toward your rectum instead of your bladder. This can cause certain sexual positions, such as ‘missionary’, to be uncomfortable.


4. Food Allergies

Food allergies are one of the most common causes of sexual problems in women, but this is hardly ever talked about. Often, food allergies such as lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance will lead to hormonal changes that disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina.


If you experience chronic inflammation in your vulvar area as well as regular gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramping, gurgling intestines, muscle aches, flatulence, and bloating, you may have one or more food allergies.


The best way to determine if food allergies are causing your chronic pelvic pain is to remove the most common offenders from your diet for a period of two months and then reintroduce a “new” one each day to test for a reaction.


The most common offenders are:

  • Gluten
  • Lactose
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Food Dyes
  • Refined Sugar


5. Vaginismus

Vaginismus can cause extremely painful sex. When a woman has vaginismus, her vaginal walls involuntarily contract at the introduction of any type of penetration. It is sometimes difficult for a woman with this condition to even insert a tampon or have a pelvic exam without pain.




Causes of vaginismus vary but often include sexual trauma and/or a reflexive response to chronic vaginal pain. Women can learn to reverse vaginismus and enjoy sex again by using a combination of talk therapy, bio-feedback, and dilation techniques.


If painful sex is ruining your love life, there is plenty you can do to take control of the situation and get your health back on track.

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