My boyfriend and I have been having sex for the past two and a half years. It's sporadic, because it's a long distance relationship, but even when we're together for an extended period of time and can have sex frequently I experience pain.
I've looked at all the websites on this stuff and read whatever info I can find, but I can't find an explanation. It's not psychological, it's not a lack of lube, it's not overly-tensed muscles...
I experience the pain at the back of my vagina, near the opening, but definitely inside. My gynecologist has told me that I have a patch of tissue right outside where my hymen was, and that for whatever reason it's not as naturally lubricated as the rest of my vagina, and is therefore less stretchy and more likely to be bruised or torn during sex.
So clearly this is the problem. Unfortunately, I don't know how to fix it. She gave me some estrogen cream, which helped a bit, but not much. And either way, another doctor has told me that this stuff increases the risk of blood clots. So I've stopped using it.
My other option, according to her, is to get a small incision made in the rear wall of my vagina. However, I'm not about to let this happen. I'm extremely hesitant to do anything that could result in scar tissue down there. As far as I'm concerned, the medical community is far too willing to take risks with women's reproductive systems. This might sound cynical, but I just don't see how having scar tissue in my vagina could possibly improve my sexual experiences.
So has anyone experienced a similar problem? Does anyone have a name for it? Do you have advice? I'm so frustrated. I have a fabulous, considerate boyfriend, I want to have sex, and I want to enjoy sex.
It seems to me that if there is an area of tissue that has "less natural Lube" adding a lubricant specifically designed for sexual encounters should make the discomfort go away. Look for a product like astroglide, or liquid silk. I have never used astroglide, but liquid silk is very nice.
I agree that the solution seems too often seems to be -cut to fix-, and the risk of developing potentially painful scar tissue is very real. Why estrogen cream would be recommended over water based sensual lube is a mystery to me. Estrogen can improve to an extent the elasticity of the tissue, but if you have your ovaries and are menstruating normally you would have “normal” amounts of estrogen. So why would a little more make it better? IF this little so called patch is not sensitive to your own natural estrogen I doubt truck loads of external estrogen will make it see the light.
My bias is to suggest trying the extra lube, (NOT a medical lube like KY) and see if it helps your symptoms. Do not be fearful of using too much, the greater risk is in being too cautious and not using enough for your comfort.
If you do not see an immediate benefit, I suggest the next step would be second opinion from someone in reproductive health that specializes in painful intercourse. I am not familiar with any specific medical condition that would lead to this “little dry patch” for lack of better descriptors. From the little I know about that particular real estate, I find it difficult to conceive how one would even establish the presence of such a thing based solely on visual inspection of the vaginal area. I feel that if there was a readily visible area that was thought to be related to your symptoms, it must be distinctly different in appearance from the surrounding skin to stand out, in which case a biopsy probably would be warranted.
The other rather obvious option is to go back to the original treating provider and have a little sit down to review
what exactly is wrong
does it have a real medical name
how you both know that is the correct diagnosis
what might be tried next since the first try did not seem to help
Be sure to mention how you rightly feel about surgical options, and your concerns about estrogen.
Unfortunately, I've tried adding lubrication, and it doesn't work. Lubricated condoms, no condoms (partner history known and oral BC used), lubricants, and various combinations of the above have been tried without success.
I've been doing ridiculous amounts of research over the past four days, and the best fit that I can find is something called Vulvar Vestibulitis. It's characterized by pain in the area I described, and is sometimes accompanied by observable physical differences and sometimes not. It ranges in severity from mild pain during intercourse to pain from tight clothing or even sitting down!
A lot of doctors now thing that it's one of the most common causes of pain during sex, but no one knows what the cause(s) is, or what treatment works best. So now I've got a name, but I'm still sort of shooting in the dark. I have access through my school to a vast number of computerized medical journals, and the differing opinions are truly daunting.
I know that my first step will be to discuss this further with my gynecologist, and to find a specialist if necessary, but beyond that, I have no idea. Some people say psychotherapy, some say treatment with trycyclic antidepressants (which are terrifying, IMO), biofeedback, topical steroids, topical estrogen (like what I was prescribed), dietary changes, and surgery (which many articles reported as being very successful).
So I'm glad I have a name for it now (if I'm right), but I'm overwhelmed by the fact that so little is known about it. I have no idea what the chances of recovering from this are. So I'm off to talk with my doctor and do more research.
Again, thanks so much for your reply.
[This message has been edited by Gray (edited 04-11-2005).]
Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998
Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.