Mexico: Dyspareunia and Episiotomies – a Case-control Study in an Acapulco Hospital, 2006

Dyspareunia, or pain during or after sexual intercourse, can occur after vaginal delivery. It is considered chronic if it lasts longer than 3 months. Higher rates of chronic dyspareunia have been associated with the surgical practice called episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision made to enlarge the vagina during delivery and then sutured afterwards. Contrary to WHO guidelines, episiotomy is an almost routine procedure in many Latin American hospitals.

Between October 2005 and January 2006 a research team from CIETmexico and the regional hospital of the Mexican Social Security Institute in Acapulco, Guerrero, conducted a case control study among 304 women who attended sessions at the hospital’s family planning clinic within 60 to 180 days after giving birth.

Some 42% of the women interviewed reported problems with pain during sexual intercourse. This was related to episiotomies and complications, such as infections, resulting from them. The study called into question both the need for episiotomy in many cases and, when justified, the way in which they are performed.

The results of this study have been published in the January 2008 issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health as “Women’s dyspareunia: a case study in a hospital in Acapulco, Mexico.” There is an English abstract and the full article in Spanish is available after registration at  The proper citation is: Solana-Arellano E, Villegas-Arrizón A, Legorreta-Soberanis J, Cárdenas-Turanzas M, Enzaldo de la Cruz J, Andersson N. Dispareunia en mujeres después del parto: estudio de casos y controles en un hospital de Acapulco, México. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2008;23(1):44-51.