Sexual pain disorders in females and males

Service de gynécologie-obstétrique et médecine de la reproduction, CHU Arnaud-de-Villeneuve, 34000 Montpellier, France.
Progrès en Urologie (Impact Factor: 0.66). 07/2013; 23(9):761-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.purol.2013.01.018
Source: PubMed


The occurrence of pain during sex is one of the most common complaints in gynecological and sexological practice but nonetheless one of the most difficult problems to deal with and treat effectively.
A literature review was conducted on Medline considering the articles listed until January 2012 dealing with sexual pain in women and men.
The different descriptions of painful intercourse (dyspareunia, vestibulo-vulvodynies, vaginismus) are not separate entities but the result of the interaction of many factors including genital pain, emotional and behavioral responses to penetration, caresses, desire and excitement, in a context of possible organic pathology (infection, endometriosis, inflammatory or dermatological disease, morphological or pelvic abnormality, hormonal deficiency) sometimes associated with chronic pain phenomena self-sustained by neurogenic inflammation. The clinical expression of sexual pain is as variable as its causes are many. The etiological investigation is essential but should not omit the sexological context and the need for appropriate management. The neurogenic inflammation and hypersensitivity impose an algological approach associated to etiological and sexological treatment.
Chronic sexual pains, whether they are superficial or deep, can be the sign of organic or psycho-sexual (primary or secondary) disorders. The development of a "therapeutic program" helps patients, allows them to restore self-confidence and leads to the disappearance of the symptom in more than half cases.

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