Tristan E. Bickman, MD
Santa Monica | obgyn

Dyspareunia Specialist

OB-GYN located in Santa Monica, CA


About Dyspareunia

Dr. Bickman helps women from throughout the Santa Monica, CA, area find the most appropriate treatment for dyspareunia, a condition that causes significant pain and discomfort during intercourse. She offers an array of treatment options, including state-of-the-art options like the FDA-approved Mona Lisa Touch vaginal laser system. 

Dyspareunia Q&A

What is dyspareunia?

Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful intercourse, or more specifically, pain that occurs just before, during or following intercourse. Some women may also experience pain when inserting tampons. Millions of women suffer from the condition, many without realizing how common the condition is, what causes it or what treatments are available.

What causes painful intercourse?

Several conditions can contribute to or cause dyspareunia, and treatment is focused on identifying the underlying cause so the appropriate treatment can be prescribed. Some of the most common causes include:

  • injury or irritation

  • inflammation or infection

  • hormonal changes that can cause dryness or structural changes in the vaginal lining

  • skin conditions that affect the area around your vagina

  • structural defects present since birth (congenital abnormalities) such as a shallow vagina

  • vaginismus, a condition that causes the vaginal muscles to spasm

  • pelvic inflammatory disease

  • uterine prolapse

  • inflammatory bowel syndrome

  • large ovarian cysts

  • prior surgery or certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy

  • stress or psychological issues

Before any treatment is prescribed, Dr. Bickman will perform a complete exam, including discussing your symptoms and when they occur.

How will Dr. Bickman determine what's causing my pain?

During your visit, Dr. Bickman will take a complete medical history and perform a thorough pelvic exam. In some cases, she may also order ultrasound tests or lab work.

Do I need to take hormone pills, or are other treatments available?

There are many treatment options that don't include hormone pills, including medications to improve lubrication and estrogen gels or ointments that are applied topically. Laser treatment with the specially-designed Mona Lisa Touch vaginal laser system is also very effective in helping women restore normal vaginal function due to an array of causes. Dr. Bickman will review all your options following your evaluation and based on the underlying causes she identifies.

*Individual Results May Vary