“Oooh, oooh—ouch!” Sound familiar? If sex doesn’t always feel so pleasurable, you’re not alone. According to the 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 30% of women reported pain during their last sexual encounter.
But just because it’s common, it doesn’t mean it is normal. Pelvic pain during sex is never normal and almost always indicates a problem.
Pelvic pain in women is an “umbrella term” that includes a range of pain in various areas, including the external genitals, vaginal muscles, pelvic muscles, tailbone and coccyx, and bladder, among others. Though many women experience pelvic pain, the APTA notes, “It is poorly understood and rarely discussed”. One third of the female population will experience some kind of pelvic pain during their lifetime but 30-50% of them will keep it secret and not talk about this problem with their health care provider. The rest of them will try to find the help but will very often find themselves unable to get answers, reassurance and comfort.
How Does This Kind of Pain Affect You?
“Pain during sex not only ruins the moment, it can have much greater consequences: fear of sex, lowered sex drive, and overall loss of intimacy,” says Debra Herbenick, PhD, a sexual health researcher at Indiana University in Bloomington. “Pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong. It’s a cue to take a step back and figure out what’s happening.” Pain with intercourse affect all facets of person’s well being including both physical and emotional. Life outlook can get questionable for many women because of uncertainty related to finding a cure, getting better or establishing and staying in relationship. Once told, “that pain is normal” and “it will go away” suffering becomes very private and silent.
What To Do?
There is hope in a little known treatment option: pelvic physical therapy. This kind of therapy is very efficient in normalizing pelvic floor dysfunction and providing significant relief without surgery, medication and side effects. Unfortunately, very many sufferers and medical professionals do not know about this option and therefore services are underutilized.
A Comprehensive Approach is a Must:
Since pain with intercourse can be caused by diversity of issues including soft tissue and structural problems, addressing pelvic issues as well as surrounding structures is essential. Therefore, detailed evaluation to determine root cause is very important. Muscle tightness, scarring from surgery, soft tissue tear or episiotomy, and increased muscle tension are some of the causes of pain during intercourse.
How Can Pelvic Physical Therapy Help?
Pelvic floor physical therapy promotes healing by utilizing manual therapy, extensive patient education regarding self-care and exercises to relax or stabilize/strengthen structures. Use of biofeedback technology accelerates healing by helping women connect with their body and learn how to normalize pelvic floor tone. Use of computer-based technology is essential for patients suffering from pain with intercourse by helping reset increased resting muscle tension that is outside of our conscious control. Results are rapid once the muscle tone is normalized; less pain, improved comfort with intercourse, pelvic exams and tampon use are some of them.
How Long Until Patients Start to Feel Results?
With treating pain with intercourse results are almost guaranteed since outcome is more then 90% successful. Benefits in pain reduction and normalization of muscle function are realized after 6 visits with most women being able to have pain free sex in 4-6 months.
How Can Lilly Physical Therapy Make a Difference?
If you have been suffering from pelvic pain in general or pelvic pain with intercourse, Lilly Physical Therapy, LLC can help. We offer comprehensive approach that is not treating just symptoms but is getting to the root cause and offer cutting edge technology in treatments for pelvic pain such us biofeedback and ML 830 Laser. We educate our patients by using proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, verbal cueing and biofeedback. Our goal is guide our patients in learning how to relax or down train muscles, which in turn helps break the pain cycle. This, in conjunction with the manual therapy techniques described above, will help the agitated muscles return to their normal resting tone and release adhesions.
Lilly Physical Therapy uses a combination of computerized biofeedback technology, laser treatment and the latest manual techniques to help you heal faster and feel better. We provide our patients with compassion, care and undivided attention, it is a real privilege to be a part of this profession and your life.