Medically known as dyspareunia, in up to 80% of women the cause is physiological. This can be the result of a decrease in female hormones, which can lead to vaginal dryness, the presence of yeast or other sexually transmitted infections, cystitis or urethritis (infections of the urinary tract), or certain orthopedic problems. In some instances, even chronic constipation may play a role. A condition known as vulvar vestibulitis, an inflammation in a particular area of the vagina, is the most commonly overlooked cause of dyspareunia.
A specific type of dyspareunia, known as vaginismus, causes involuntary spasms of the muscles within the vagina. In some instances, they can be so strong, the vagina seals shut, making penetration extremely painful or sometimes, impossible. It often has roots in psychological trauma.
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