In this article, we will look at:
- What is male dyspareunia?
- What are the causes of male dyspareunia?
- Symptoms of male dyspareunia
- Diagnosis of male dyspareunia
- Complications of male dyspareunia
- Treatment for male dyspareunia
- Exercising for Managing Dyspareunia
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What is male dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia or pain during sexual intercourse can occur both in men and women but is more common among women.
Male dyspareunia or dyspareunia in men is a recurrent or continuous pain in the genital or pelvic region which occurs during or after sexual activity and is present for three months or longer. The pain in the penis may be accompanied by a burning sensation during and even after ejaculation.
This condition is extremely rare in men and can be caused by physical and at times even psychological issues.
What are the causes of male dyspareunia?
There are a variety of causes that can lead to dyspareunia:
- Medical factors
- Other causes
The psychological causes include:
- a history of sexual abuse or trauma
- anxiety around sex
- emotional instability
- a strict religious upbringing
The medical factors that can lead to dyspareunia include:
- sexually transmitted infections ( STIs) including herpes
- thrush or male candidiasis which is an infection caused by a yeast-shaped fungus called Candida albicans, that most commonly affects the head of the penis
- a tight foreskin (Phimosis).
- inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis)
- growths, cysts, warts, and lumps in the penis
- testicular cancer
- little tears in the foreskin
- problems with ejaculation when the testicles swell and become painful as a result of being sexually stimulated but not ejaculating
- a penile fracture which can occur if a man slips out of his partner during vigorous thrusting and hits a hard object. A distinct cracking noise is heard and this is followed by immediate loss of erection, severe pain, bruising and swelling.
- Peyronie's disease, which usually affects men aged 55 or over, and is a gradual change in the shape of the penis when erect. The penis when erect becomes bent rather than straight.
The other causes that can lead to male dyspareunia include:
- skin irritation caused by an allergic reaction to a particular brand of condom or spermicide
- sharp pain during penetration can be caused by threads of an intrauterine contraceptive device (for birth control) that protrude from the woman’s cervix
What are the symptoms of dyspareunia in men? How is male dyspareunia diagnosed?
The symptoms of dyspareunia in men include:
- continuous pain in the genital or pelvic region which occurs during or after sexual activity and is recurrently present for more than three months
- burning sensation along with the pain
- irritation of the skin on the penis with a rash formation
- lack of sexual desire
- inability to get aroused
- inability to experience orgasm
Diagnosis of dyspareunia in men involves:
- the doctor asking about the detailed medical history of the patient and also about the daily life, stress levels and if the patient has any past history of abuse especially sexual
- examining the patient’s genital area to check for infections (STIs and UTIs), abnormal shape of penis etc
- taking a swab from the tip of the penis to test for and rule out the possibility of infection.
What are the complications of male dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia in men is usually associated with medical conditions and does not usually cause any form of severe health complications.
The complications can be caused by the underlying medical condition causing the dyspareunia.
However, dyspareunia does affect the sexual life of the person. With the right intervention and treatment, dyspareunia can be managed and even cured.
What is the treatment for dyspareunia?
Medical Treatment for Dyspareunia
Medical treatment of dyspareunia in men depends upon the cause.
- If it is any medical disorder which is interfering with the erection of the penis, surgery may be necessary.
- If the discomfort is caused by an allergic reaction to a particular brand of condom or spermicide, the doctor may prescribe anti-allergic medication so that the condition subsides and suggest you use a different brand
- If the pain is caused by your partner’s intrauterine contraceptive device that protrudes from her cervix, her doctor can trim its threads so that they do not protrude far through the cervix
- If it is caused by an infection the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for both you and your partner or may refer you to an STI specialist
- If no physical cause is found to be causing the pain, your doctor may refer you to a sex therapist, and a counselor who can help you to work through any psychological problems together with your partner
Exercising for Managing Dyspareunia
Stretch exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor can help immensely in doing away with the symptoms of dyspareunia especially in men who suffer from this condition due to prostatitis since prostatitis leads to weak pelvic floor muscles.
Practicing yoga regularly can help in strengthening and removing the tightness of muscles that can cause the pain associated with dyspareunia. Yoga can also decrease stress levels, anxiety, depression and boost your self-image and self-confidence.
The patient can also consult a pelvic floor specialist who can help him find the right treatment and exercises to help rehabilitate the pelvic muscles.
Doing The Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises for men can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and help alleviate the symptoms of dyspareunia.
Kegel exercises were named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who has popularized them in the ‘50s. These exercises initially were meant to cure patients suffering from urinary incontinence (often after childbirth).
Gradually the efficacy of Kegel’s exercise was discovered for patients who suffer from conditions like dyspareunia and vaginismus.
You can easily identify the pelvic the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel and affect sexual function.
Go to the bathroom and urinate a little, then stop the flow of your urine midstream. Then start urinating again, retain the flow of urine, and stop again and then start again. Do so until you have emptied your bladder.
The muscles which just acted according to your wishes are the pelvic floor muscles.
You can also test the same muscles out by tightening them to keep you from passing gas.
Once you identify these muscles it is important to exercise them in order to be able to contract and relax these muscles at will.
This is known as Kegel’s exercise.
The exercise of alternatively stopping and letting the urine flow is only for test purposes to identify the muscles which need to be exercised while performing the Kegel's exercises.
Warning: Please do not do the Kegel exercises while urinating.
When you are still at the stage of practicing the Kegel exercise do not attempt a sexual intercourse with penetration.
The Kegel Exercise
Practice the Kegel exercise for a week or two.
Find a quiet suitable place to do the exercise. You can do it after waking up in the morning and just before bedtime while lying on your bed.
Follow the steps given below:
- Contract your pelvic muscles. Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds
- Then relax for another 3 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise for as many as 10 times each session, until you can do around 15 repetitions.
Initially, a certain effort of concentration will be needed to contract the pelvic muscles only, without contracting the abdominal and gluteal muscles. When you get used to it, it will become automatic.
Once you become comfortable doing these sessions quietly in bed, you can do the Kegel exercises anytime while doing some other activities, for example, watching TV, working on your computer, in your car, etc.
Syncing the Kegel Exercises with Breathing Exercises
Once you are comfortable doing the Kegel’s exercise anywhere, sync it with breathing exercises.
- Focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Breathe in and out deeply a couple of times to relax yourself.
- Then inhale deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds while strongly contracting your pelvic floor muscles.
- Then exhale deeply and relax these muscles.
Repeat several series of this exercise.
You can do this exercise in front of a mirror in order to visualize your pelvic muscles at work. This can immensely help to improve your mental awareness of this part of your body and help boost your performance when you resume your sex life.
Questions answered by trusted doctors
Did you know?
Dyspareunia in India
Dyspareunia is 12.6%, with a higher prevalence in the central region of India, among newly married and younger women. It is more prevalent.
Dyspareunia in Men
Diagnosis of dyspareunia in men is rare. Dyspareunia in men is mainly caused by medical factors. Psychological factors too can cause dyspareunia in men, such cases though are very rare.
Often men who are emotionally unstable experience dyspareunia
It is usually men who are emotionally unstable that often find penetration during sex painful. Due to anxiety the men find the epidermis of the penis stiff and unmovable in other words the skin tightens up, which is dyspareunia. A spasm of the muscles is common and in such cases one should abstain from sex. Forceful sex for men during this time can hurt or damage the tissues.
Phimosis is a health condition in which the foreskin is not retracted or pulled back from around the tip of the penis.
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