If You'Re In The 1 In 10 Women Dealing With Endometriosis, Here'S How To Manage Sex Pain
If you're in the one in 10 women who deal with endometriosis – which occurs when cells that typically line your uterus start to grow elsewhere, typically in your pelvic region: think places such as your ovaries or fallopian tubes – then you'll know that penetrative sex can be less than fun.
Endometriosis sex pain: what's going on
Why? Well these plaques of cells can be incredibly painful on their own – let alone if something starts banging up against them. When endometrial tissue is pulled and pushed, it can create sensations of stabbing pain deep in the abdomen.
Mix vaginal dryness – a side effect of many of the hormonal treatments used to manage endometriosis symptoms – into the pot, and it’s no wonder that sex might not be quite the arousing experience it should be.
'Sex for women suffering from endometriosis can, quite understandably, be a daunting prospect,' says Dr Poobashni Govender, AppointmentHub co-founder.
'It can become traumatic rather than pleasurable, which may put a strain on the relationship. The most important thing is to be honest and talk about any problems together.'
Aside from clear communication around what you are and are not comfortable with, Dr Govender also has some tips for managing endometriosis sex pain. Scroll on for her advice.
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How to manage endometriosis sex pain
Nail your foreplay
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Investing some time in pre-sex preparation is going to make all the difference.
Have a relaxing, warm bath to ease any existing pains, perhaps suggest some massage, then don’t underestimate the power of foreplay. Here are ten ways to up your kissing game, for starters.
'Try to relax by starting slow with some oral or clitoral stimulation,' Dr Govender says. 'Then, if you’re ready to go further, move on to step two.'
Use the right lube
Hopefully, thanks to your extended foreplay sesh, you should be feeling pretty naturally wet. If not, or you could use a little assistance, Dr Govender recommends lubing up with a silicon-based lubricant, which will last longer than a water-based alternative.
Avoid some sex positions
'In general, positions that allow deep penetration or which place pressure on your pelvis should be avoided,' says Dr Govender.
So, whereas missionary might be enjoyable for most, when it comes to relieving endometriosis sex pain, it’s not. Instead, go for positions that allow for shallow penetration – face-to-face and spooning, for example – or ones where you can really be in charge.
'Many women say that they are most comfortable either on top or lying on their side,' says Dr Govender says. 'So they can control the depth and speed of penetration.'
Vocalise any issues
Last but not least, remember to communicate. 'Tell your partner which positions are uncomfortable and make the pain worse,' says Dr Govender.
'And, most of all, never feel pressured into having painful sex, simply to please your partner as this can develop into a lack of intimacy, resentment and a fear of sex. Communication and understanding is the key.'
Try certain times of the month
Some women with endo find that penetrative sex is less painful in the week after ovulation. It might be worth working out when that's happening for you, using a tracking app like Moody Month.
Confused between endometriosis vs PCOS? This guide should help.