Do You Feel Pain During Sex? New Survey Shows That You Are Certainly Not Alone.

The results of a recent study have shown that a sizeable minority, almost 1 in 10 of women in the UK, experience pain during sex.  The findings, from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3), are significant because they come from the largest scientific study of sexual health lifestyles in the UK.

The survey, which was carried out by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University College London and NatCen Social Research, involved asking 8,869 women aged between 16-74 from 2010 to 2012 using computer-assisted self-interviews.

The results showed that 7.5% of women have experienced pain during sex, with nearly 2% experiencing ‘morbid pain’ i.e. symptoms that last for 6 months, re-occur, and cause real distress.

The age groups that reported the most pain were 55-64 year olds (10.4%), and 16-24 (9.5%).  It is also interesting to note that, of the more than 1700 women who had not been sexually active in the past year, 2.05% said they’d been avoiding intercourse because they’d experienced painful sex, and feared doing so again.

What’s Happening?

This kind of pain is grouped under the name dyspareunia, and there can be many different factors and causes. My approach to treatment is a holistic one, and as many physicians agree, this is often a more effective way of providing and effective treatment, because it takes into account the health, sexual and relationship factors. For example, reports of the experience of pain can even have some of their origins in factors like attitudes towards sex, dissatisfaction with sex, anxiety, and sexual relationship factors.

The results of this study are likely to be showing painful sexual experiences for many 16-24 year olds because the first sexual experience is often a painful one for many women, and this is a fact tends not to be highlighted sufficiently e.g. in sex education.

The results of this survey also highlight the fact that, for many older women, post-menopausal sex can be painful. This could be as a result of vaginal dryness, and other factors.

Getting Help

I offer the full range of office gynaecology services, including rapid sexual health screening, fertility management, help with polycystic, and more.  I can carry out assessments for pelvic pain, and for heavy menstrual bleeding.  I offer a humane and holistic approach to gynaecological practice.  I offer a full range of Outpatient Services, including a Well Woman check-up.  This includes full history and examination, assessment of ultrasound scan, cervical smear and Ca 125 screening. It is also a good opportunity to discuss and highlight the likely causes of e.g. pain during sex.

Pelvic Pain?

I have developed a specialist interest in pelvic pain and in particular severe endometriosis.  For more information, contact me via the contact page here or ring my personal assistant on 020 3318 0263.

New Endometrial Cancer Study Results

A recent Medical News Today article has highlighted the results of a study carried out by an international team.  The study identified 5 new gene regions that may increase the risk of a woman developing endometrial cancer.  In order to identify the genetic variants this latest study used the DNA of more than 7,000 women with endometrial cancer and 37,000 without it.

Endometrial cancer refers to cancer of the womb / uterus lining (the endometrium) where the cells of the womb lining grow out of control. This type of cancer tends to be more common among postmenopausal women.

Some of the prominent symptoms of endometrial cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding such as bleeding between periods and much heavier bleeding than is usual, bleeding after the menopause, bloody vaginal discharge, and in some cases pelvic pain and pain during intercourse.

The New Study Results

We already knew about 4 gene regions that could increase the risk of getting endometrial cancer so the 5 other regions identified in this study could mean that we will be able to get a greater understanding of the genetic causes of this cancer. Some of the regions identified in the study were already to be known to be linked to other cancers such as ovarian and prostate cancer.

Cancer Research UK statistics tell us that there were over 9,000 new cases of uterine cancer in 2013 so any advance that could help in the fight against this type of cancer is very welcome indeed.

Now that these gene regions have been linked in this way to endometrial cancer they can hopefully be targeted with new treatments.

Comprehensive Health Check

One of the ways that women like to address many of their health concerns including any worries they may have about endometrial cancer is to have a comprehensive health check.  I offer the Wellwoman check up.  This covers all the important aspects of your health and includes a full history examination, and assessment of ultrasound scan, smear and Ca 125.  It also gives you an opportunity to discuss any health concerns that you may have.  You can find out more about the many different services I offer on my website here:  http://rapidaccessgynaecology.co.uk/gynaecology.php

If you are experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain with intercourse and heavy and painful periods, or if you would like to book an appointment for cervical smear and ovarian cancer screening for example you can contact me here:  http://rapidaccessgynaecology.co.uk/contact.php