Dyspareunia is the term for pain with sex. It is a condition that is not talked about often but it is one that is commonly treated by a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. One in five women will suffer from painful sex at some point in their lives. Many women will unfortunately suffer from dyspareunia for months or years. If they bring up the topic with their doctor, they are often told they need to relax or even given the advice to “drink a glass of wine.”
Painful sex can take many different forms. It can be present at initial penetration, with deep penetration, after the act, or only with certain positions. The pain can be diffuse in the pelvic region or in a very specific location within the pelvic cavity. A common cause of painful sex can be dysfunction within the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles form a bowl of muscles that span from the pubic bone to the tailbone. These muscles contract and relax just like any other muscles in the body. When these muscles are working properly, they give support to the pelvic organs, aid in proper bowel and bladder health, and assist in healthy sexual function. Pain with sex can often stem from pelvic floor muscles that do not have flexibility; other terms for this are that they muscles may be in a state of spasm or tightness.
There are many reasons why a person may develop Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and dyspareunia. Childbirth injury, scarring, pelvic surgeries, and hip injuries can be common causes for a person to develop pain with sex. Stress and chronic holding patterns like butt clenching or ab clenching or doing too many kegels can contribute to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and potentially cause pain with sex. Hormonal changes and/or menopause can contribute to vaginal dryness and tissue irritation during sex.
If this sounds familiar to you, there is help available! Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists like myself treat women with dyspareunia on a daily basis. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can help by guiding you through breathing exercises and stretches to lengthen and relax the pelvic floor, perform manual therapy techniques to assist in getting the muscles to relax, and help to identify other factors that may be contributing to the pain.
Are you having pain with sex? Partner with us to take the first step in obtaining an enjoyable sex life!
Magic City Physical Therapy
Phone (205) 602-1848
Fax (205) 293-3895