About 50% of people with endometriosis experience sexual pain with deep penetration, however, the cause of this pain is not fully understood and may be due to the endometriosis lesions or to other factors, such as central sensitization. Central sensitization is a condition of the nervous system associated with chronic pain. People with central sensitization experience a heightened sensitivity to pain and may experience pain even with light touch. The Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Research Laboratory found that people with bladder and/or pelvic floor tenderness and/or painful bladder syndrome, which are thought to be clinical markers of central sensitization, had more severe sexual pain with deep penetration, regardless of their severity of endometriosis. These findings suggest that central sensitization may play a role in sexual pain with deep penetration rather than the endometriosis lesions in some people. We are now looking further into central sensitization and its relationship to this pain, as this may lead to individualized treatment plans and better care.
This video by the BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre for Complex Chronic Diseases explains how central sensitivity works