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Published February 2022

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Tips on how to enjoy sex with endometriosis

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Tips on how to enjoy sex with endometriosis

In March, it is Endometriosis Awareness Month in the United States. Endometriosis affects around 200 million women worldwide[1]. It occurs when cells that resemble the uterus lining grow elsewhere in the body, such as in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bowel[2].

Many people suffering from endometriosis experience inflammation and swelling, particularly before and during menstruation. Other symptoms include:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Severe period pain
  • Sickness
  • Pain during sex[3]Couple looking intimately at each other whilst engaging in sex

Endometriosis and sex

 

Pain during or after sex is the third most common symptom of endometriosis[4].

Other symptoms, such as bleeding during or after sex, general fatigue, low mood, low sex drive, and loss of body confidence can also affect sex and intimacy for those living with endometriosis[5].

How does endometriosis affect sex?

Sexual pain caused by endometriosis can vary from mild to severe. It is most common with deep penetration and often lingers after sex, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days[6].

Some women with endometriosis describe the pain as a sharp stabbing, while others experience it as a deep ache in the abdomen[7].

The pain is different for everyone because endometriosis can grow in different places – if it grows behind the vagina in the lower uterus, it can cause painful sex, whereas if it grows in the ovaries, you may not experience any pain at all[8].

Why is sex painful with endometriosis?

Endometriosis often, but not always, causes pain during sex, known as dyspareunia[9].

Whether or not a women experiences pain, depends on where the endometrial implants are found – if they’re on the nerves, ligaments or tissue that becomes stretched during sex, the pain can be significant and last for hours or days after intercourse[10].

How to enjoy sex with endometriosis

Endometriosis doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sex. There are several steps that you can take to maximise pleasure and reduce pain.

Try different positions

Some positions may be more painful than others, particularly those resulting in deep penetration[11]. Experimenting with different positions may help.

If deep penetration causes pain, try to stick to more shallow positions that put less pressure on the areas of the pelvis that contain endometrial tissue[12].

Avoid penetration altogether

Remember, sex isn’t all about penetration. If it causes too much pain, look for other ways to get intimate with your partner.

Consider your menstrual cycle

Many people with endometriosis find it helpful to plan sex around their menstrual cycle. When hormone levels are in a state of flux, the endometriotic tissue can become more inflamed and irritated. As a result, sex can be more painful before and during your period[13].

Use a lubricant

Endometriosis doesn’t necessarily cause vaginal dryness[14], the anxiety or worry you may feel about experiencing pain during sex may. Using a lubricant may help to make penetration more comfortable for people with endometriosis.

Communication

Communication always plays an important role in sex, but particularly if you suffer from any form of pain during sex. Discuss with your partner what causes you pain and what feels most comfortable – the more they understand, the easier they will find it to support you.

Remember, everyone is different so take some time to figure out what works for you. If you have any concerns about your symptoms, always speak to your doctor.

If you have endometriosis or experience pain during sex, you may find using a lubricant helpful by making penetration more comfortable. Our natural YES lubricants can help. To find out more, explore our range of products or get in touch.

[1] https://issm.info/sexual-health-qa/how-can-women-with-endometriosis-thrive-sexually/

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321417#sex-with-endometriosis

[3] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

[4] https://www.endofound.org/painful-sex-dyspareunia

[5] https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-and-couples

[6] https://issm.info/sexual-health-qa/how-can-women-with-endometriosis-thrive-sexually/

[7] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

[8] https://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/endometriosis-intimacy

[9] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

[10] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

[11] https://issm.info/sexual-health-qa/how-can-women-with-endometriosis-thrive-sexually/

[12] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

[13] https://issm.info/sexual-health-qa/how-can-women-with-endometriosis-thrive-sexually/

[14] https://www.health.com/condition/endometriosis/sex-tips-if-you-have-endometriosis

 

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