By WIN Contributor: Tania Mannella, Doctor of Physiotherapy
Painful sex, known as dyspareunia, has been found by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to affect up to 75% of women at some point in their lives. Nine out of ten women will experience postpartum dyspareunia.
This can be result of various issues involving the pelvic floor area and musculature. Some women are too shy or embarrassed to talk about it or seek help. Many women and their doctors don’t know that Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy (PFP) is the most effective way to resolve pain during sex.
In my practice, this is not a taboo topic and through offering Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy I am helping women in our community find solutions and optimize their sexual health.
Origins of Vaginal Pain
Pain can be experienced with intercourse, sexual contact, tampon use or even wearing tight pants. Women may be told the problem is "psychological" however most often, there is an anatomical and physiological source.
Possible medical causes of painful intercourse are vulvar vestibulitis, vulvodynia, and interstitial cystitis. Other causes can be painful healing after childbirth, pressure on spinal/pelvic nerves, hormonal changes and narrowing of the vaginal entrance. Tight muscles of the pelvic floor, which include the muscles inside the vagina that are normally active during sexual excitement, may be a source of pain as well.
What Pelvic Floor Physiology Offers
The pelvic floor evaluation involves taking your history and a pelvic floor muscle assessment that checks for muscle tension, tightness, tone, range of motion and muscle strength. This internal exam also provides important information about internal muscle trigger points, the integrity of the pelvic organs and the presence of a prolapse.
PFP treatment empowers you as the patient because you learn to play an active role in controlling your pain. You will learn how to to sufficiently relax muscles related to your concern, which helps decrease anxiety and further decreases pain. This breaks the pain cycle.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy will help you experience sexual intercourse for the passionate, enjoyable and intimate act it is meant to be with your partner. Rekindle the flame……with less pain!!