Pain-Free Passion: Your Guide to Overcoming Painful Intercourse with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pain-Free Passion: Your Guide to Overcoming Painful Intercourse with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

May 23, 2024

Today we are delving into another topic that affects many people, but is often overlooked. Pain during intercourse, known as dyspareunia, refers to persistent or recurrent pain experienced during sexual intercourse. This can be very distressing and have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. While this may be a common experience, it is not normal and should not be ignored. If you or someone you know is experiencing dyspareunia, read on to learn more about how you can achieve relief from this. Knowledge and understanding are powerful tools on your journey to healing. 

Understanding Dyspareunia

            Pain with intercourse can vary in its presentation for each individual. Some may experience pain at the entrance to the vaginal canal, deep in the pelvis, or both. This may mean that pain occurs with initial penetration, deep penetration, or even external stimulation. Pain may even depend on positions during intercourse. The symptoms may manifest as sharp, burning, or aching sensations, and may be accompanied by irritation of the tissues. Some people also experience pain with orgasm, or their ability to achieve orgasm is limited due to pain. Symptoms can also vary in intensity and duration, subsiding quickly or lingering after intercourse. There are various factors that can contribute to pain with intercourse. This can include pelvic floor dysfunction, hormonal imbalances or changes, psychological factors, medication side effects and more. Menopause, pregnancy or breastfeeding are all times when women experience hormonal changes, which can result in symptoms such as changes in tissue elasticity and vaginal dryness. Psychological factors can include, but are not limited to, increased stress, anxiety and depression, traumatic experiences or relationship challenges. Medications such as antidepressants or hormonal contraceptives may have side effects that impact a person’s libido. There is no “standard” presentation of painful intercourse, and many people experience a combination of symptoms. In addition, the effects are not just physical. Dyspareunia can have emotional and psychological repercussions that affect an individual’s self-esteem and relationships.

Treatment Options

            Treatment of dyspareunia is available! There are multiple strategies to achieve relief from painful intercourse. These may include:

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

  • In pelvic floor physical therapy, your PT can address muscle tension, weakness and other dysfunction of the pelvic floor through interventions such as exercise, manual therapy and other skilled techniques.

Medical Treatment

  • Your provider will rule out other medical causes of pain and help guide treatment. Depending on the underlying cause, medical treatment may be recommended by your provider to manage your pain. This may include hormonal therapy, topical creams or other medications.

Counseling and Therapy Services

  • These services address psychological or emotional factors that may contribute to your pain.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Utilizing lubrication, practicing muscle relaxation techniques and experimenting with different positions may help alleviate discomfort throughout your healing journey as well.

Education and Communication

  • Open communication with partners, as well as education on dyspareunia, can help foster understanding and a good support system to ease any emotional burdens.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help!

            The great news is . . . help is available! It may feel isolating to live with dyspareunia, but you are not alone. The staff here at Treasure Valley Pelvic Health is here to support you on your journey towards healing and reclaiming a fulfilling sex life. We provide compassionate care with effective treatments to address your pain and its root causes. Your PT will create a personalized treatment plan to address your needs, improve your sexual wellness and overall quality of life, and help you reach your goals. Don’t suffer in silence! Take the first steps toward a pain-free and fulfilling intimate life today by reaching out to us or a pelvic floor PT in your community. Your pelvic health and happiness matter! Let’s restore joy and comfort to intimacy in your life.

Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share your experiences, thoughts or any questions you might have in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow us on social media as well for additional information and resources!

In Health,

The Team at Treasure Valley Pelvic Health

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