Pelvic pain during sex is a problem that affects many people, but it’s often not talked about openly. The truth is that there are many reasons why someone might experience pain during sex, from pelvic floor problems to mental blocks and more. Keep reading to discover three of the top issues that can cause pain during sex and how to find relief.
The Role of the Pelvic Floor During Sex
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit at the bottom of the pelvis. They play an important role in controlling bladder and bowel function, as well as providing support for the pelvic organs. During sex, these muscles also play a role in vaginal lubrication and orgasm. But when these muscles become tight, weak, or dysfunctional, they can cause pain and discomfort during intercourse.
The Top 3 “Pelvic Floor Pain During Sex” Diagnoses
One of the most common pelvic floor issues that can cause pain during sex is vaginismus. This is a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles involuntarily contract, making penetration difficult or impossible. It can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, anxiety, or certain medical conditions.
Another common issue is vulvodynia, which is a type of chronic pain that affects the vulva. It can cause discomfort and pain during sex, as well as during everyday activities like sitting or wearing tight clothing. Vulvodynia can be caused by a number of factors, including nerve damage, hormonal imbalances, or past infections.
Endometriosis is another condition that can cause pelvic pain during sex. This is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing pain and discomfort. Endometriosis can also cause other symptoms like heavy periods, fatigue, and infertility.
How Physical Therapy Can Help with Pain During Sex
Pelvic floor physical therapy can be incredibly helpful for those who are experiencing pain during sex due to pelvic floor issues. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I work with patients to help them understand their pelvic floor anatomy and function. I also help them learn how to relax and release their pelvic floor muscles, which can be particularly helpful for those with vaginismus.
Among these relaxation exercises is the option of exploring and expanding the sexual “menu”, as I like to call it, to find out which touches help and which hurt. These may change over the course of treatment. If you want to try this method, I highly recommend pleasure mapping and allowing yourself to get more excited about the prospect of sexuality in all of its many forms — mental, penetrative, and non-penetrative.
These two sites come highly recommended by many of my patients to help with sexy time stuff.
In addition to muscle relaxation techniques, I also work with patients to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles when they are weak or underactive. Strengthening exercises can help improve bladder and bowel function, as well as sexual function
For those with vulvodynia or other chronic pain conditions, I may also use techniques like manual therapy or dry needling to help alleviate pain and improve function. These techniques can help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension in the pelvic floor, which can lead to improved sexual function over time.
Ready to get rid of your pain during sex? Let’s chat!
One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to work with patients in a caring and compassionate way. Pelvic floor issues can be incredibly personal and sensitive, and it’s important to me that my patients feel heard and supported throughout their treatment journey. I always strive to create a safe and comfortable environment for my patients to ask questions, share concerns, and receive the care they need.
And if you’re feeling nervous or embarrassed about seeking help, remember that pelvic floor physical therapists, like me, are trained professionals who have seen it all before.
Want to work together? Book a virtual or in-person session (Minnesota) with me to receive a specialized, unique-to-you treatment plan to get the healing you need.
Looking for additional resources on pelvic health? My YouTube channel holds dozens of videos where I offer free pelvic floor training, yoga exercises, and more. My instagram page takes a little bit more of a light hearted approach while still providing educational content. And of course, if you have a specific pelvic floor subject you’re looking for more information on, a quick search of my blogs may give you the answers you need.
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