So here is a story that has been replayed many times over. A woman goes to her doctor and finally gets up the courage to tell them that intimacy with her significant other is not exactly comfortable. In fact, it actually hurts. Unfortunately, said doctor is not versed in this issue and decides to hand the patient a business card of a local therapist… the kind that are trained in helping us work through psychological issues. The patient takes that as a hint that there is nothing that can be done and it apparently IS all in her head and shuts up about it and continues to suffer. And so does her intimate relationship with her significant other.
What is Really Going On Then?
Often, the muscles of the pelvic floor can become excessively shortened or tight as a result of a combination of causes. Pregnancy/delivery, sitting with poor posture, holding tension in the pelvic floor (much like tension in the shoulders and neck), endometriosis, trauma, stress, and tight pelvic floor muscles are some of the causes. There are many variables that can contribute to pain for an individual. It is best to work wth someone who is trained in this issue to help you sort out the why.
Over time, these muscles no longer have the ability to relax or lengthen and any type of vaginal penetration becomes painful or impossible in some instances.
For men (who also suffer from pelvic pain), this can lead to pain with orgasm, testicular pain, or pain with sitting on a bike among others issues.
This issue can even effect the ability for a doctor to do a routine pelvic exam, a woman to insert a tampon, and also cause pain from just standing for too long. Unless addressed, this pain can continue for years.
A Couple Facts:
A recent study in the UK found that as many as 1 in 10 women have pain with intercourse.
Another study found that 24% of women experienced painful sex 18 months after the delivery of their baby.
What Can Be Done?
I highly recommend that you contact your local pelvic floor therapist. We can help! Results can be quite quick from the right treatment. This usually includes hands on work, specific stretches, and often posture or behavioral changes.
Realize that our pelvic floor muscles are no different from other muscles in their ability to change and heal. They just need to be treated.