Understanding Dyspareunia: The #1 Cause of Painful Intercourse



Understanding Dyspareunia: The #1 Cause of Painful Intercourse

Dyspareunia is a condition that affects many women, making activities like inserting tampons, getting a pelvic exam, or even sitting for long periods of time uncomfortable and painful. While some may dismiss the connection, there is evidence to suggest that oxalates, which are substances found in certain foods, may play a role in the development of this condition. In this article, we will explore the relationship between oxalates and dyspareunia, discuss the importance of calcium in managing oxalate levels, and provide dietary recommendations to alleviate symptoms.

The Role of Oxalates in Dyspareunia

Oxalates are naturally occurring substances found in various foods. They have the potential to form crystals that resemble razor blades, causing discomfort and pain when they come into contact with sensitive tissues, such as the vaginal area. While oxalates can also lead to kidney stones and gout-like symptoms, their impact on dyspareunia is often overlooked.

Medical professionals may question the validity of this connection due to the lack of scientific studies. However, it is essential to remember that the absence of research does not necessarily invalidate a potential solution. Many women have successfully managed their symptoms through simple dietary changes and supplements, even without extensive scientific backing.

Foods to Avoid: High-Oxalate Culprits

To determine whether oxalates are contributing to your dyspareunia, it is recommended to eliminate or reduce the consumption of high-oxalate foods. The following foods are known to have high levels of oxalates and should be avoided for a period of time:

  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Kiwi
  • Wheat germ
  • Soy
  • Xylitol (common sweetener on ketogenic diets)
  • Blackberries
  • Chocolate
  • Eggplant
  • Black pepper
  • Swiss chard
  • Figs
  • Turmeric

It is important to note that while oxalates primarily come from food, the body can also produce them. When oxalates combine with calcium, they form crystals, exacerbating the symptoms of dyspareunia. To mitigate the effects of oxalates, consuming dairy products alongside high-oxalate foods can help. The calcium in dairy binds with the oxalates in the digestive system, reducing their absorption into the bloodstream.

Foods to Include: Low-Oxalate Alternatives

While some foods should be avoided, there are plenty of alternatives that are low in oxalates and can be safely consumed. Consider incorporating the following into your diet:

  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Fats
  • Low-oxalate vegetables such as arugula, cabbage, avocado, cauliflower, and regular lettuce
  • Saturated fats

By diversifying your food choices, you can maintain a well-rounded diet while minimizing the potential negative impact of oxalates on dyspareunia.

The Importance of Calcium and Microbiome

In addition to dietary changes, other factors can influence the severity of dyspareunia symptoms. Low levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to higher levels of oxalates in the body, exacerbating the condition. If considering vitamin B6 supplementation, opt for the p5p form to ensure optimal absorption.

Calcium citrate, when taken before bed, can also aid in managing oxalate reabsorption. By binding with oxalates, calcium citrate helps minimize the amount that enters the bloodstream. Additionally, a diverse and healthy gut microbiome can play a crucial role in addressing dyspareunia. Certain gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down oxalates, so maintaining a well-balanced microbiome may help prevent the formation of oxalate crystals.

Supplementary Support for Dyspareunia

In conjunction with dietary adjustments, there are a few supplementary options that may provide additional relief for dyspareunia. These include:

  1. N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG): NAG helps rebuild the lining of the vaginal canal, reducing discomfort and pain associated with dyspareunia.
  2. Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): CMO is another supplement that can alleviate symptoms by targeting inflammation and supporting joint health.

While it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements, these options may offer some relief for those experiencing dyspareunia.


Dyspareunia can significantly impact a woman's quality of life, but there are steps that can be taken to manage and alleviate symptoms. By understanding the role of oxalates, making dietary adjustments, and considering supplementary support, many women have found relief from the discomfort and pain associated with dyspareunia. Remember, while scientific studies may not yet exist for every solution, the experiences of countless women highlight the potential benefits of exploring alternative approaches. Take control of your health and explore these strategies to reclaim your comfort and well-being.

Additional Information: It is important to note that dyspareunia can have various causes, and it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.


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