Resolving Vaginismus with Physical Therapy

Pain with sexual activity or penetration is never normal, and can be addressed naturally!

WHAT IS VAGINISMUS?

Vaginismus describes when the pelvic floor muscles are overly tight or spasm upon penetration.  This makes penetration and intercourse uncomfortable or painful, depending on the degree of the muscle spasm.  It can also make other penetration, like inserting a tampon or a pelvic exam, painful.  

The pelvic floor muscles control sexual function, and when they are unable to properly relax and allow penetration they lead to pain.  In fact, more than half of women experience painful intercourse, though not all of these cases would be diagnosed as vaginismus.

Painful intercourse often accompanies other pelvic floor dysfunction as well.  Many patients don't realize their pain with sex is related to urinary symptoms, low back pain, or other pelvic floor issues.  In one study conducted at PelvicSanity, we demonstrated that 69% of patients who came in for other reasons also had sexual dysfunction.

HOW DOES PELVIC PT HELP?

A qualified pelvic floor physical therapist can evaluate the muscles and determine the underlying cause of the sexual dysfunction.  If tight pelvic floor muscles are to blame, pelvic PT can release trigger points in these muscles and work to restore them to normal function.

A home program can also be beneficial, and often includes a stretching program, self-trigger point release, training with dilators, targeted strengthening, or other methods as appropriate.

IS PELVIC PT PAINFUL?

Pelvic floor physical therapy should never be painful, and should not consistently flare up symptoms.  It's one of the most common questions we get from patients with vaginismus.

Pelvic PT may be uncomfortable at times, but it should never contribute to more pain.  Your physical therapist may start working exclusively on the external factors at first, just to make sure you're able to comfortably tolerate internal work.  

THE PELVICSANITY DIFFERENCE

At PelvicSanity, your physical therapist will be a specialist in the field and an expert in dealing with vaginismus and painful intercourse.  Many of our patients have been to multiple doctors for their symptoms before finding success here at PelvicSanity.

We believe full-length sessions are crucial to success with pelvic PT, so all appointments at PelvicSanity are an hour in length and spent entirely with a pelvic floor specialist. You’ll never be hooked up to electrodes, see an aide instead of a physical therapist, or be told to ‘just do your Kegels.’  We create a positive, calm environment for healing in private treatment rooms.

We also believe the pelvic floor can’t be treated in isolation, so your treatment will address both the pelvic floor and the external muscles that connect and influence the entire pelvis for optimal results. 

YOUR INITIAL EVALUATION

Your initial evaluation will be an hour in length, and have three major components:

  • Consultation: Most of our patients have been to multiple doctors, but have never really felt listened to in their appointments.  In your initial evaluation you’ll have a chance to go through your medical history with your physical therapist.  We’ll listen to you and ask about your personal goals for physical therapy.

  • Assessment:  Next your physical therapist will do a complete assessment.  They will look at your posture, hip and pelvic alignment, fascia, scar tissue, and anything else influencing your pelvis.  Then they will do an internal evaluation, looking for trigger points and dysfunction within the pelvic floor muscles.

  • Treatment:  We also want to know how your body responds to treatment, so your initial evaluation also includes targeted treatment.  You’ll also leave with ‘homework’ that you can be doing in between your visits to build on the improvements with physical therapy.

RESOURCES

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About one in three women experience painful intercourse during their lives.  Pain with sex is common, but it's not normal, and pelvic floor physical therapy can resolve the underlying issues.

24%

Of new mothers experience painful intercourse that can persist for months or years following delivery.

"The second I walk through the door at Pelvic Sanity, I instantly feel better. The environment is wonderfully calming, and I know I'm always in good hands."

Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist can help regain normal sexual function, no matter how long you've been dealing with vaginismus

From our Patients

1

Pelvic Pain

"I love PelvicSanity!  They have helped me live pain-free, and taught me techniques to manage my pain at home.  I don't feel hopeless in pain anymore!"

2

Pelvic Pain

"I'm so thankful to have found this place. I appreciate the comprehensive knowledge of my condition and the encouragement to keep working toward my goals."

3

Pelvic Pain

"The excellent and precise treatment I have received has shifted me from a plateau where I was still very disabled, despite nearly three years of varied treatments, to feeling nearly pain-free for a full two weeks. I had given up hope that I would ever experience anything more than a temporary respite from intractable pain. I am extremely grateful."

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