Sexual Health Q&A

How might uterine fibroids affect a woman’s sex life?

Uterine fibroids can make sex, especially penetrative sex, extremely painful.

In a January 2014 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, a group of American scientists reported that fibroids were significantly associated with “deep dyspareunia.” Dyspareunia refers to painful intercourse. Deep dyspareunia is pain
deep in the vagina, as opposed to the entrance.

The 827 women in the study group ranged in age from 35 to 49. Sixty-three percent of them had fibroids. Among the women with fibroids, about 22% said they had experienced deep dyspareunia during the previous year.

The research team reported the following:

  • Women whose fibroids were located in the upper portion of the uterus were more likely to have deep dyspareunia.
  • Depressed women were twice as likely to have deep dyspareunia than those without a history of depression.
  • Deep dyspareunia was more common in women who had delivered babies. For each delivery, the odds of deep dyspareunia increased 30%.
  • It was also more common in younger premenopausal women.
  • Women who had other pelvic problems, such as endometriosis, were almost three times more likely to have deep dyspareunia when compared to those who did not have pelvic issues.

The study did not show that fibroids caused deep dyspareunia. It just showed a connection between the two conditions.

The pain can affect other aspects of a woman’s sex life, too. For example, she may find herself less interested in sex, knowing that it will hurt.

Women who have painful sex are encouraged to speak to their doctor. While the cause could be uterine fibroids, there can be many other factors involved.