Painful sex after childbirth is very common. In fact, 50-60% of women report painful sex (dyspareunia) 6-7 weeks after childbirth and up to 30% report it at 6 months postpartum. There’s actually no difference in the prevalence rates between vaginal births and cesarean births, so it can happen to anyone.
Dyspareunia is technically defined as painful penetration, pain during sexual intercourse, or pain on orgasm. However, there are a lot of related symptoms, including vaginal dryness, vaginal tightness, vaginal looseness, bleeding/irritation after sex, and loss of sexual desire
There are usually two main culprits for these symptoms. One is low estrogen as a result of fluctuating hormone levels, which may be exacerbated by breastfeeding, and can lead to dryness and low libido. The second cause is pelvic floor dysfunction, which means that your pelvic floor muscles are weak and/or tight as a result of pregnancy and/or birth injuries like tearing or episiotomies.
Risk factors include:
An exam by an OB-GYN or healthcare professional can help diagnose the underlying cause of the pain. Treatments may include:
What you can try at home: