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Painful Intercourse

Both men and women can experience painful intercourse.

Common causes

  • Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth
  • Inadequate lubrication
  • Prostate inflammation in men
  • Irritation from condoms or feminine hygiene products
  • STDs, bladder infections, or vaginal infections


There are as many treatments as there are causes, but many people can be helped in the following ways.

  • Wait at least six weeks after childbirth.
  • Use water-based lubricants, such as K-Y Jelly and Astroglide.
  • If infection is the cause of the problem, medications are available from your health care provider.

Refer to the Sexual Problems in Women topic on our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for sexual problems in women.

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