The following situations and conditions can contribute to or cause pain during intercourse or other forms of penetration. The first few times you have intercourse or experience vaginal penetration, you may feel a small to moderate amount of pain at the entrance to the vagina. There can be some bleeding or no bleeding at all—both are normal. The reasons for the pain are not always clear, but it is typically temporary.
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Post-coital bleeding is vaginal bleeding that occurs immediately following sexual intercourse. Even the slightest amount of post-coital bleeding should be taken seriously, as it might be the first and only symptom of the initial stages of cervical cancer. In most cases, this bleeding is from either the vagina or cervix; it is rarely from the uterus or elsewhere. Due to the possibility of a serious underlying condition, vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse should be thoroughly evaluated by your physician.
One of the most common causes of painful sex in women is vulvodynia, defined as discomfort or burning pain in the vulvar area with no obvious cause, such as an infection, cancer, or neurologic disorder like herpes or spinal nerve compression. This common cause of vaginal pain is frequently misdiagnosed. The condition is estimated to affect about 16 percent of women; a number some researchers suspect may be much higher. The pain often prevents women from exercising, having intercourse, and, in extreme cases, even walking. No one really knows what causes it, although some theories suggest it may come on in relation to a particular event, like childbirth, infection or surgery.