Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A medical evaluation for dyspareunia usually consists of:

  • A thorough medical history. Your doctor may ask when your pain began, exactly where it hurts, how it feels, and if it happens with every sexual partner and every sexual position. Your doctor may also inquire about your sexual history, surgical history and previous childbirth experiences. Don't let embarrassment stop you from giving candid answers. These questions provide clues to the cause of your pain.
  • A pelvic examination. During a pelvic exam, your doctor can check for signs of skin irritation, infection or anatomical problems. He or she may also try to identify the location of your pain by applying gentle pressure to the genital area and pelvic muscles. A visual examination of the vaginal passage, using an instrument called a speculum to separate the vaginal walls, may be performed as well. Some women who experience painful intercourse are also uncomfortable during a pelvic exam, no matter how gentle the doctor is. You can ask to stop the exam at any time if it's too painful.
  • Additional tests. If your doctor suspects certain causes of painful intercourse, he or she might also recommend a pelvic ultrasound.
Jan. 25, 2012

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