Dyspareunia: Overview

Content Written By: Andrew T. Goldstein, MD

Pain during intercourse, dyspareunia, is one of the most common complaints in gynecologic practice. This syndrome used to be called vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, or VVS (an less commonly vestibular adenitis.) The World Health Organization, reported that between 8%-22% of women experience dyspareunia lasting at least 3 months. A study in Sweden of over 3000 women showed that at any given time, more than 4% of women in their 20’s have dyspareunia. This means that at least 20 million American women will experience chronic dyspareunia in their lifetimes.

For many years, it was the common belief among physicians that most dyspareunia was caused by psychological reasons. Women were labeled as “frigid,” “anxious,” or “hysterical.” Often, they were told that they had been the victims of “sexual abuse that they just didn’t remember.” However, finally, the medical community is beginning to recognize that almost all dyspareunia has a physiologic (physical) cause, and recent controlled studies have failed to find an association between sexual abuse and dyspareunia.

Find a Doctor

Enter your city, state or zipcode and find the nearest doctor in your area

diagnostic tool teaser

Share your Story

shareDo you have a personal health story that you would like to share with others? Many people, especially when newly diagnosed, find comfort in knowing that others are having a similar experience. Our story areas are a place to share experiences about living with and treating sexual health issues.

Join the Forums

joinDo you have a question, want to share medical advice, or just need to discuss your situation with someone else having a similar experience?

The forums are a resource for everyone to share and discuss their health and medical needs with others, and get answers to medical questions from the leading experts in the field of sexual medicine

Stay updated with our monthly newsletter

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter—Get updates about advances in the field, new products and medical trials in your area. Your information will never be shared without your consent.

Leave this field empty