Ask a Wellness Ambassador: painful sex, preventive health

A biweekly column addressing students’ health questions from office of Health, Wellness, and Recreation.

Dear Wellness Ambassadors,

I have been sexually active for over a year now, but every time I have sex it is painful afterwards and sometimes during. Is that normal? What can I do so that it doesn’t hurt that much? 

Sex is meant to be enjoyable, not painful. Pain during penis-in-vagina sex can be caused by a lack of lubricant, an infection, endometriosis, an allergy to the barriers you are using, or even emotional stress.

A lot of people think that lube is something only used for vaginal dryness, but that’s actually not true at all. Lube can be used by anyone to help reduce friction which can make penetrative sex more enjoyable and reduce the risk of condom tears occurring.

It’s important to remember that vaginal lubrication is not equivalent to sexual arousal. You may be extremely aroused but not producing enough of your own natural lubricant, so extra lube can be helpful to add to sex. In terms of protection methods, some condoms actually come lubricated, but you can also add your own extra lube.

When it comes to choosing a type of lube, there are lots of different kinds. Some are warming, some are vegan and ecofriendly, so shop around to find one that works for you. Most lubes are either water-based or silicone-based, both of which are compatible with condoms.

Some lubes are flavored, and often contain sugar, which might be something you want to avoid because they can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection. Look for glycerin on the package to see if the lube contains sugar. Silicone lube should not be used with silicone sex toys, since they can actually damage the toys.

It might also be beneficial to talk to your partner about the pain are experiencing. Maybe going a little slower during foreplay if you need more time to get aroused, or maybe switching things up and trying something new instead of penetrative sex.

If lubrication and more foreplay don’t help, the pain may be caused by an allergy to the condoms you are using, an infection, endometriosis, or any other number of things. If that’s the case, it is definitely worth taking a trip to see your healthcare provider to discuss the pain, since it could indicate a larger problem.

Dear Wellness Ambassadors,

High cholesterol and high blood pressure are very common in my family. I want to begin to take preventative measures to protect my health. What steps should I begin to implement into my lifestyle? 

It’s awesome that you are thinking about preventative measures. Prevention is one of the best things you can do for your health, so you have already taken the first step.

One thing that can influence high blood pressure is diet. Aim to include foods high in “healthy” fats or polyunsaturated fats like fish oils, avocado, nuts, shellfish, and margarine. These healthy fats can actually help to reduce cholesterol.

Increasing your complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fiber will help to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Another thing to watch out for is sodium, as that can contribute to high blood pressure.

Physical activity is another way to help maintain healthy heart and blood pressure. Trying to exercise 3-5 times a week for about 30-60 minutes a session is a great way to lay out your workout plan. I would also try to include a variety of exercise in your plan, maybe do an aerobic workout one day, and the next day do pilates or some light weightlifting, and also include some stretching.

It’s also important to try to avoid things like smoking and  excess alcohol intake as those can also increase your risk for high blood pressure. Stress is another key cause of high blood pressure, so taking time to meditate or do something you enjoy can help relieve that stress and keep your blood pressure in check.

If you have any other questions about your blood pressure and prevention, definitely talk to your healthcare provider about prevention and how to monitor your blood pressure in the future.

Do you have a Health and Wellness question you would like to see featured here? If so, please email it to wellness@simmons.edu and it might be answered in our upcoming column! All questions and answers will be anonymous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s