Recent Blog Articles


Ask the doctor: What can I do about painful sex?

Updated: August 01, 2013

Q. Since I went through menopause, sex has become very painful. I no longer enjoy it. Are there any treatments I can try?

A. Sexual intercourse should be a pleasurable part of your relationship, but for some women it becomes very uncomfortable after menopause. One common cause of painful sex (termed dyspareunia) is the drop in estrogen after menopause, which leads to vaginal dryness. Other reasons include conditions such as uterine prolapse, vaginal infections, tense vaginal muscles, endometriosis, lichen sclerosis (a skin condition that causes thinning of the genital skin), uterine fibroids, or pelvic surgery (for example, hysterectomy).

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.