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Why Painful Sex: Can Fibroids Cause Pain During Intercourse?

Uterine fibroids don’t just impact women diagnosed with the condition; they can also impact their partners and relationships.

Heavy bleeding, longer periods, constant fatigue and discomfort, enlarged uterus – all of these fibroid symptoms may leave you feeling less self-confident or less interested in intimacy.

And many women are wondering:

“Can fibroids cause pain during intercourse?”

Pain During Intercourse With Fibroids

The technical term for painful sex is “dyspareunia.”

There are two types of dyspareunia: superficial and deep.

Superficial dyspareunia is pain at the lips, at the opening or lower part of the vagina. Pain is immediate, and usually ceases once intercourse stops. There are many possible reasons for this type of pain.

Deep dyspareunia is pain in the upper part of the vagina, the pelvis or even the thighs. Pain can continue for a while after intercourse.

In addition to fibroids, this type of pain can be caused by endometriosis, ovary cysts, inflammation of the bladder, pelvis or bowel.

If uterine fibroids are in the area of the uterus close to the cervix, penetration during intercourse can result in painful sex.

Fibroids: Painful Intercourse

Sometimes, changing the angle of penetration may help.

This can be done by changing the angle of the tilt of the woman’s pelvis with the help of a pillow or two underneath her buttocks or by trying a different position.

If the main issue is bleeding, there are a number of strategies that can be tried, but ultimately treating the underlying problem (i.e. the fibroids) will likely be necessary.

Fibroids grow with hormones (in particular estrogen). Therefore one can employ an anti-estrogen approach to try to improve the bleeding.

While hormones are pervasive in the food (and even water) supply, women can improve bleeding symptoms by limiting or avoiding red meat, non-organic chicken, or dairy.

Uterine Fibroids and Sex: How to Get Your Sex Life Back

Video Transcript

Can fibroids cause pain during intercourse? It’s a topic that is one of the most commonly searched topics on our website (Atlanta Fibroid Center).

Fibroids can be a real pain, it can be a pain literally and figuratively, and so it’s not hard to understand, how that could interfere in one’s sex life.

Fibroids are very hard and firm tumors and they can enlarge a woman’s abdomen, making her look like a pregnant woman. An enlarged uterus looking pregnant can often affect a woman psychologically, such that she feels less attractive and has a low self-esteem looking pregnant.

She’s not as interested in sexual relations, because she doesn’t feel good about herself, she can also feel weak, tired, and fatigued from the anemia that the fibroids caused.

A lot of women with fibroids have heavy menstrual periods, which can lead to anemia – a deficit of iron and hemoglobin, and this causes fatigue and weakness.

And let’s face it – sex is exercise. We’ve talked about what happens with fibroids and how they can affect your sex life, but what can you do about it?

There are a number of things you can do while you’re trying to figure out which treatment option is the best for your fibroids.

The first thing to do is to try seeing, if there are perhaps positions that are more comfortable. There are other aids like foam wedges that can change the tilt of the pelvis.

Ultimately, the fibroids will need to be treated particularly if the woman is anemic.

Some of the things that are be tried to help with the anemia the first-line therapy is either a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or birth control pills.

It can help you in the short term, but ultimately a lot of patients need
something more definitive done for their fibroids, and essentially there are two treatment options that are definitive.

You can have surgery is an option, trying to get out some of the fibroids, called a myomectomy, or surgically removing the uterus – a hysterectomy.

The other treatment option which is nonsurgical is the uterine fibroid embolization.

It’s completely nonsurgical performed as an outpatient, it treats every fibroid in the uterus. The fibroids will soften and shrink, and as they do a woman’s symptoms will start to disappear once the fibroids are treated with UFE.

The anemia will start to go away, as the periods get lighter and lighter. The hemoglobin and iron levels rise.

Painful Intercourse (or What to Do If Penetration Hurts)

The uterus is getting smaller and so the pregnant looking uterus goes away.

A woman no longer has discomfort in her abdomen or pelvis, and so sex after UFE is often much more attractive to a woman.

Sex is no longer painful when these fibroids are pressing on things either on pelvic nerves around the cervix after UFE.

That’s no longer the case this pain will resolve, so when a woman is not having pain anymore, either in her pelvic area or from the cervical pain or pressure from these fibroids, she feels more like having sexual relations and not avoiding sex like she was previously, because the recovery time for UFE is a matter of days, versus a matter of weeks for surgery.

A patient can return to sexual activity much quicker, and so you can resume normal activities much quicker with UFE, than with the corresponding surgical options.

To request more information about UFE, make an appointment with Dr. John Lipman of Atlanta Fibroid Center by calling 770-214-4600 or make an appointment online.