Dyspareunia, the umbrella term for pain during sex, can cause stinging, burning, irritation or itching at the entry to the vagina.
A DRUG used to treat the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia could cure painful sex for millions of women, experts hope.
Gabapentin was tested on 230 women who had suffered pain during sex for more than five years.
All of the women experienced less pain and discomfort during sex, as well as an increase in their libido after taking the drug.
It is often used to treat fibromyalgia, the chronic pain condition that forced Lady Gaga to postpone her European world tour in 2017, and has also been used to treat pain in patients who have previously had herpes and to help manage epilepsy as well as neuropathic pain.
Experts from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School wanted to see if it would help women who suffer from dyspareunia.
The umbrella term is used to describe a number of reasons why sex might be uncomfortable, even agony, for women.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists some 75 per cent of women experience painful sex at some point in their lives.
For some women it causes a burning, stinging sensation, for others it’s excruciating.
The women in the study were diagnosed with provoked vulvodynia, a chronic pain syndrome characterised by symptoms such as stinging, burning, irritation or itching at the entry to the vagina.
All of the 230 women who participated in the study found their sex lives improved on the drug
The pain usually occurs with contact, such as from tampon insertion or intercourse, which can lead to sexual dysfunction.
Lead author Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at the school, said: “Previous studies have suggested Gabapentin reduces the pain of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that includes widespread pain in various parts of the body.
“Our theory was that reducing pelvic floor muscle pain might reduce vulvodynia pain overall and thus improve sexual function.
“We found that women with greater muscle pain responded better in terms of pain and improved arousal than those with less pain, which suggests that Gabapentin be considered for treatment in women who have significant muscle tightness and spasm in the pelvic region.”
The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, opens the door for potential new treatments for millions of women