Solving chronic pain during intercourse

February 04, 2021

Researchers at Flinders University are working to remedy this situation by identifying what triggers this chronic pain in the female reproductive tract.

Dr Joel Castro Kraftchenko - Head of Endometriosis Research for the Visceral Pain Group (VIPER), with the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University - is leading research into the pain attached to Dyspareunia, also known as vaginal hyperalgesia or painful intercourse, which is one of the most debilitating symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis and vulvodynia.

Pain is detected by specialised proteins (called ion channels) that are present in sensory nerves and project from peripheral organs to the central nervous system.

"Very little is known about which ion channels are in charge of detecting painful stimuli from the female reproductive tract; and how pain is transmitted via peripheral sensory nerves (innervating these organs) to the central nervous system," says Dr Castro Kraftchenko.

"Also, little is known about how mechanical stimuli is detected and transmitted from female reproductive organs to the Central Nervous System.

"This lack in knowledge provides a limiting factor for developing treatments for painful intercourse associated with endometriosis and vulvodynia.

"The aim of our study is to fill this gap in knowledge. this study provides novel findings advancing the understanding of vaginal sensation that can be used to recognise and explore changes in states of chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis and vulvodynia."

The study - Pharmacological modulation of voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels alters nociception arising from the female reproductive tract, by Joel Castro Kraftchenko, Jessica Maddern, Andelain Erickson, Ashlee Caldwell, Luke Grundy, Andrea Harrington and Stuart Brierley, published in the journal Pain (DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002036) - describes how sensory nerves innervating a vagina (tested on mice) respond to different mechanical stimuli.

It also identifies for the first time the presence of specialised ion channels involved in the transmission of pain signals throughout these sensory nerves; and how pharmacological modulation of these ion channels alters pain signalling and ultimately regulates vaginal pain sensitivity in vivo.

"These findings contribute towards the understanding of how mechanical stimuli is detected and transmitted from female reproductive organs and uncover potential molecular targets to investigate as novel therapeutics to relieve painful intercourse," says Dr Castro Kraftchenko.

"With this, we hope to ultimately improve the quality of life of patients with endometriosis and vulvodynia."
Dr Castro Kraftchenko has also been awarded a research grant through the Endometriosis Australia Foundation - to identify inflammatory mediators secreted by the endometrium of women with endometriosis, relevant to chronic pelvic pain. This study will further explore endometriosis and chronic pain - areas that Dr Castro Kraftchenko says demand more immediate attention from medical researchers.

Flinders University

Related Chronic Pain Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers are developing potential treatment for chronic pain
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed a new way to treat chronic pain which has been tested in mice.

Molecular link between chronic pain and depression revealed
Researchers at Hokkaido University have identified the brain mechanism linking chronic pain and depression in rats.

How chikungunya virus may cause chronic joint pain
A new method for permanently marking cells infected with chikungunya virus could reveal how the virus continues to cause joint pain for months to years after the initial infection, according to a study published Aug.

Gastroesophageal reflux associated with chronic pain in temporomandibular joint
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is associated with chronic, painful temporomandibular disorder -- pain in the temporomandibular joint -- and anxiety and poor sleep contribute to this association, according to a study in CMAJ.

One step closer to chronic pain relief
While effective drugs against chronic pain are not just around the corner, researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have succeeded in identifying a protein as a future potential target for medicinal drugs.

Gut bacteria associated with chronic pain for first time
In a paper published today in the journal Pain, a Montreal-based research team has shown, for the first time, that there are alterations in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with fibromyalgia.

Nearly 5.4 million cancer survivors suffer chronic pain
A new report finds about one in three cancer survivors (34.6%) reported having chronic pain, representing nearly 5.4 million cancer survivors in the United States.

New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

New target for chronic pain relief confirmed by scientists
A research group at Hiroshima University observed a potential new target for chronic pain treatment.

Menopause symptoms nearly double the risk of chronic pain
In addition to the other health conditions affected by estrogen, it has also been shown to affect pain sensitivity.

Read More: Chronic Pain News and Chronic Pain Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to