Getting diagnosed with endometriosis can be extremely scary and difficult to cope with. This condition causes chronic pain and can affect many different aspects of your life. Many women who suffer from endometriosis can sometimes find sex to be very painful. Because intercourse can cause a lot of pain, you may find yourself not wanting to be intimate with your partner. While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, there are a few things that you can try to help alleviate painful intercourse.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is diagnosed whenever a group of cells that resembles the lining of the uterus (called endometrial cells) is found outside of the uterus. The tissue can cause painful lesions to form in different areas of the pelvic region. Not every woman that is diagnosed with endometriosis will experience pain on the same level or even in the same area. Some of the most common parts of the body that are affected by endometriosis lesions include:
- Fallopian tubes
- Peritoneum (a continuous membrane that forms in the lining of the abdominal cavity)
- Rectovaginal Septum (a thin structure that separates the rectum from the vagina)
- Diaphragm and lungs (only in extremely rare cases)
Many people think that endometriosis is a rare condition. In fact, it's estimated that around 176 million women around the world suffer from this disease. No one really knows exactly what causes endometriosis, but according to Medicine Net, there are some theories that suggest that the disease occurs when a woman's altered immune system is unable to destroy the endometrium cells that are outside of the uterus.
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and endometriosis is sometimes categorized into four different stages. Stage one is considered to be very mild and usually has minimal symptoms while level four is the most severe stage.
Some common symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Feeling tired or worn-down all of the time
- Infertility issues
- Pain when urinating or having a bowel movement
- Painful sex
Most women who suffer from endometriosis pain say that their symptoms usually get worse while they are on their periods.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Sex Life
Sex and endometriosis don't always go well together. The deep penetration and the fast motions can pull and tug on parts of your pelvis that cause sex to be extremely painful. The pain can range anywhere from a mild cramp in your lower abdomen to severe stabbing pain that makes it impossible for you to finish. Because of this pain, many women try to avoid sex altogether because the orgasm is just not worth the pain.
Sexual Positions to Try if You Suffer from Endometriosis
Just because you have endometriosis doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to sex. There are a few different sexual positions that endometriosis sufferers can try that will help make sex enjoyable again.
For some women with endometriosis, deep penetration is what makes sex so painful. To have sex while spooning, you need to lay on your side and your partner cuddles up behind you in the same position. Penetration is more shallow in this position, which usually causes less pain.
Face-to-face is pretty much like spooning, but you and your partner are facing each other. This will allow you to communicate with your partner better and let him know what is working and what is not. If this position feels good, you could try to throw one leg over your partner to expose your clitoris and make things a little more pleasurable for you.
3. Reverse Cowgirl
With this position, you are in total control. Basically, your partner lies on his back while you straddle him with your back to him. Because you are on top, you get to set the speed and the rhythm. You also get to decide how deep he goes inside of you. You can ease into things at first, then you go faster and deeper when, and if, you feel you can handle it.
To add a little more comfort to this position, you can lean forward, resting your hands beside your partner's legs, which will put the penis at a different position when it is inside of you.
4. Modified Doggie Style
Because of the deep penetration, doggie style is not really recommended for people with endometriosis. But if you do miss it, there is still a way to get all of the benefits of doggie style without having to endure the pain.
Instead of being on your hands and knees, you lay flat on your stomach. Your partner then lies on top of you and enters you from behind. Penetration is much more shallow in this position than it is with traditional doggie style, but the position is also very intimate and pleasurable for you both.
5. Sex in the Shower
Getting hot and steamy in the shower is definitely a fun way to have sex. For people with endometriosis, it isn't just fun, it can also be very beneficial. Having the hot water run over your body can help relax your muscles and reduce any pain that you may have from the penetration. If standing up doesn't work for you, you can always try the bathtub or jacuzzi.
Tips to remember when having sex: To help make sex even more enjoyable, be sure to use plenty of lubrication. Engage in foreplay beforehand to get yourself naturally lubricated and apply lubricant to your partner to ensure that he is able to slip in and out with ease. Also, different positions will work better for some people than they do others. Make sure that your partner is aware that sex may be uncomfortable for you and that you will need to try different positions to figure out which one works best for you.
Other Sexual Options to Try
In addition to trying different positions, there are plenty of other things that you can do to still be intimate with your partner. You and your partner can perform oral sex on each other or use toys to spice up your love life. The Crescendo, for example, is a great vibrator to try. Its innovative design allows you to use your hands to bend Crescendo into different shapes, for both internal and external stimulation. It has 6 motors and comes with 12 pre-set vibration patterns and 16 levels of intensity so that you can personalize your pleasure experience.
The OhNut is another product that can help make sex much more pleasurable. It's a set of soft and comfortable rings that easily slide onto the penis and allows couples to explore comfortable penetration depths during sex.
Orgasms have been known to relieve pain. So, if you and your partner get creative with ways to get each other off, you could not only revive the romantic spark but you could also alleviate some of your endometriosis pain.
Talking to Your Partner about Sex
When it comes to having sex, making sure that you and your partner are on the same page is critical. Your partner may understand that your condition causes you to feel fatigued and uncomfortable, be he also needs to know how you are feeling while having sex.
Don't Be Afraid to Communicate
It can be uncomfortable having to talk in detail about your sex life. But you need to remember, your partner can't help if he doesn't understand the extent of your pain. When talking about endometriosis, be sure to be as descriptive as possible. Let him know what your pain is like during penetration, how it feels when you have sex at a fast pace and a slow pace, and what positions cause you the most pain.
You should also let your partner know what to expect after sex. If you start to feel pain after you have finished, be sure to let him know. Also, don't be afraid to tell him that your endometriosis could cause you to bleed during intercourse. Once he is able to truly understand every aspect of your condition, he will be able to work with you to find solutions.
Come Up with a Plan Together
Once your partner has a good idea about how uncomfortable sex can be for you, tell him that you would like for the two of you to work together and find a way to make sex enjoyable again. Make sure to tell him what you are comfortable with trying and try to find out what he is comfortable with too. Then, together, the two of you can experiment until you find a way to have sex that you both enjoy. Also, while you are having sex, be sure to tell him at the exact moment that you start to feel pain. This will help him to quickly understand what is okay to try and what is not.
Endometriosis does not usually cause extreme pain on a continuous basis. Fortunately, there are times when your endometriosis symptoms will ease up a bit. Usually, women report their symptoms being much better about two weeks after their period. Try to plan your sexual activities for a time when your symptoms will be the least severe. Having to mark a date on your calendar for lovemaking probably doesn't seem that romantic. However, by picking the perfect time, you will be more inclined to try out new things to see which one works the best for you.
Endometriosis can change the way you do a lot of things. However, it doesn't have to stop you from doing your favorite things. With a little bit of understanding and patience, you can still have a very active and pleasurable sex life. March is National Endometriosis Month. If you want to learn more about Crescendo, OhNut, and other products that can help increase your pleasure, check out our product line.