Friday, 6 February 2015

Sexual Pain Common After Childbirth, Study Finds


C-section and certain assisted vaginal births linked to more long-term problems

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Maureen Salamon

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual pain is common after childbirth, a new study indicates.

Nearly nine in 10 women experience pain the first time they have sexual intercourse after childbirth. What's more, almost one-quarter still report painful sex 18 months later, the Australian researchers found.

The study also revealed that women who had given birth via cesarean section or vaginally with vacuum extraction were about twice as likely to experience painful intercourse at 18 months postpartum compared to women who had spontaneous vaginal deliveries.

"Two things surprised us, [including] the fact that almost all women experience pain the first time they have sex after childbirth, whether they resume sex in the first six weeks or delay until three or even six months postpartum," said study author Stephanie Brown, a principal research fellow at Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

"Second, there is a common assumption that women who have a cesarean section are less likely to experience sexual difficulties after childbirth," she added. "That turns out not to be true."

The study was published recently in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Nearly 75 percent of women experience painful sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, at some point in their lives, which can stem from many causes, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Brown and her team also learned that one in six women in the study experienced abuse by an intimate partner within 12 months after giving birth. These women had a greater risk of painful sex compared to women who weren't abused.

The researchers questioned more than 1,200 first-time mothers from six Australian hospitals. The investigators first contacted the women at an average of 15 weeks of pregnancy and then at 3, 6, 12 and 18 months after they had given birth.

Almost 28 percent of women said they had experienced painful sexual intercourse in the year prior to becoming pregnant, the study noted.

About half of the women sampled had a vaginal birth, while nearly 11 percent had a vaginal birth assisted by a vacuum extraction device and another 11 percent gave birth vaginally assisted by forceps, according to the study. Nearly 30 percent of participants delivered through an elective or emergency cesarean section.

source : Sexual Pain Common After Childbirth, Study Finds

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