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Feature Article

Dyspareunia in women: managing a common problem

Jane R Howard

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Abstract

It is important to assess women presenting with dyspareunia carefully and to make an accurate diagnosis prior to commencing treatment for any underlying physical and psychological problems.

Key Points

  • There are many causes of dyspareunia in women. The underlying problem may be acute or chronic.
  • Including questions about sexual function in the history taking routine will enable a discussion of sexual problems.
  • Dyspareunia is likely to have a major impact on relationship dynamics.
  • It is important that women with chronic dyspareunia understand that accurate diagnosis is necessary because there are many different causes and these have different treatments.
  • All treatments should be given a proper trial over a reasonable period of time.
  • Lichen sclerosus and vulval and vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN and VAIN, respectively) lesions should be checked regularly for malignant change.

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