Painful Sex: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Painful sex can be caused by many things. You may have an injury, an infection, or a growth in your vagina. Or maybe you have muscle spasms. In some cases, the pain is caused by another medical condition, such as a spinal problem.

Some medicines can cause dryness in the vagina. And as a woman gets older, her vagina gets drier. It may also narrow, shorten, and get stiffer. This dryness can make sex painful.

Talk to your doctor about what might be causing your painful sex. Treatment may help.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Use a vaginal lubricant during sex. Examples are Astroglide and K-Y Jelly.
  • Increase the time you and your partner spend touching each other before sex. This is called foreplay.
  • Try different positions for sex to find the most comfortable ones.
  • Ask your doctor about exercises to strengthen and relax your pelvic muscles.
  • Before sex, take a warm bath. This can relax you and reduce anxiety.
  • If your doctor prescribes any medicines, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new belly or pelvic pain.
  • You have a fever and pelvic pain or vaginal discharge.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your pain during sex increases.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter I760 in the search box to learn more about "Painful Sex: Care Instructions".

Current as of: October 13, 2016