Bridget had been dealing with pain during intercourse for more than 4 years, which started after she had kids. It had been gradually getting worse, and was affecting her relationship with her husband. Even when she was willing to try being intimate, her husband was afraid of hurting her, and they were no longer intimate in their marriage.
Bridget asked to share the story of her journey to raise awareness for others and give them hope that they just don't have to live with painful intercourse - it can be fully resolved.
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PelvicSanity: Thanks so much for sharing your story – it means a lot to others out there who may be dealing with similar issues. Can you give us a brief overview of what you were dealing with? How long had it been going on?
Bridget: My primary issue was pain with intercourse. It had been going on for almost four years, and was affecting my relationship with my husband – he was afraid to even try for fear of hurting me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my symptoms came on just a few years after a C-section for my third child. With three little ones around the house I was taking care of, I didn’t really have time – or prioritize – taking care of myself.
PS: So how did you find out about PelvicSanity, and what prompted you to call us for help?
Bridget: I reported the pain I was experiencing to my OB at one of my yearly checkups, and she just suggested using more lube. When that didn’t help, I waited another full year until my next scheduled appointment with her. At that visit, she mentioned my pelvic muscles might be overly tight or in spasm, and suggested pelvic PT might help.
PS: How did you feel going into that first appointment, and once it was over?
Bridget: Frankly, I was really skeptical going into my appointment. I figured I might as well give it a shot, but didn’t have high hopes.
That changed as soon as I came in. Bonnie was awesome, and made me feel comfortable from the moment we started working together. She knew what was going on with my body before I even told her.
She showed me how my C-section scar was playing a big role. It was adhered and didn’t move naturally, and that put strain on my core and pelvic area. I hadn’t been told anything about mobilizing my scar, or that it should move and feel just like the surrounding skin.
We also discovered I had a diastasis recti – which I learned is really common for moms – which was also contributing to what was going on. With all the issues I had in my core, my pelvic muscles took over and tried to help out, and became so tight they caused the pain with intercourse.
We began working on those areas on the first day.
PS: When did you start noticing a big difference? I know sometimes with such a history of painful intercourse, it can be scary to try again.
Bridget: It definitely was! It was about six weeks after I started working with Bonnie, when we tried for the first time. I was shocked – about 80% of the pain was already gone the first time we tried! Bonnie also helped me with other areas I had no idea I could work on. We worked on my C-Section scar and the fascia of my abdomen, and began to make gains with my diastasis recti as well. Overall, I just feel so much better than I ever thought I could – Bonnie has magic hands!
I wish more doctors would talk to us about these post-natal issues – I had no idea everything was so related. I was just grateful my scars weren’t even looking that bad, but no one told me I needed to be mobilizing them or making sure they didn’t adhere.
PS: You mentioned that you found out some things you thought were ‘normal’ definitely weren’t – what were those?
Bridget: One of the biggest things was my C-Section scar. It felt both numb and sensitive at the same time, and I hated touching it or having anyone else go near it. Several friends of mine have said the same thing. I just thought that was normal, until I started working with Bonnie and realized it was a problem. The scar tissue had adhered to the skin underneath, it was causing problems in the fascia and wasn’t moving or feeling right. After we began working on and mobilizing the scar, that sensitive sensation went away. Now it feels almost identical to the surrounding skin.
PS: Do you have any advice for others who were in your same position?
Bridget: I now talk to all my friends about getting checked out by a pelvic PT. There are so many things we just accept as normal, but I feel so much better than I ever expected. I could hardly believe my symptoms were so much better in so short of a time. This was something I had been dealing with for four years, and was nearly gone in less than six weeks.There’s a lot that my physician didn’t know about, and better options than surgeries or medication. These issues in the core and pelvis affect the whole body, and I’d definitely recommend getting checked out – it can’t hurt anything, and can have a major benefit in your life.
PS: Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’d like to thank you so much for sharing your story – we know that can often be difficult!
Bridget: Just so glad that I found PelvicSanity and Dr. Bonnie – she was amazing. I felt comfortable the entire time, even in an uncomfortable situation. Highly recommend taking the time to prioritize your health, and now I’m feeling great!
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PelvicSanity is Orange County's premier pelvic floor physical therapy clinic. The team here have won awards, written books, taught other physical therapists, conducted new research in the field, and - most importantly - helped hundreds of patients from all over the world meet their goals. The Finding Pelvic Sanity online group provides support and practical, positive information for patients with pelvic health issues.