| Ericka Long
Women all over the world have been disappointed with their sex lives because the activity was filled with more pain than pleasure. The medical term for painful sexual intercourse is dyspareunia and it can be the result of a variety of underlying issues, one of which is a weakness in the pelvic floor muscles.
What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located underneath the pelvis, which, apart from playing a vital role in sexual intercourse, also supports other important actions of the body such as urination, bowel movement, and childbirth. When pelvic muscles are weak, pelvic floor therapy might be recommended which is typically comprised of exercises, massages, education, biofeedback, electrical simulators, and/or the use of certain devices such as vaginal dilators.
Pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscle in your body in that exercise makes them stronger. While undergoing pelvic floor treatment, a therapist might recommend certain specific exercise techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing or some common yoga poses. The intention behind these exercises is to help you learn how to contract and relax your pelvic muscles.
Recent studies have shown that women who complain of sexual discomfort along with other issues such as urinary incontinence have seen significant improvement in the quality of their life through pelvic floor exercises. Ease of penetration and lessening of pain during intercourse are also reduced through pelvic floor therapy. The goal of this therapy is to make the pelvic floor stronger and more flexible in turn affecting the way the pelvis moves during sex, making it a less painful and more enjoyable experience.
Women suffering from chronic pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction can benefit from physiotherapy, such as massage or physical therapy. More often than not, an overly tight pelvic floor can be loosened up under the care of a professional external therapist. Internal massage is also a possible treatment choice. During internal massage, the therapist, in this case a qualified doctor, moves their finger up the vagina to identify trigger points that may be causing a disturbance in the pelvic floor. They then try to stretch these muscles internally, in turn loosening them and making them ready for normal functioning. According to research by Harvard, internal massage therapy could fix a host of problems ranging from sexual discomfort to myofascial pelvic pain.
A method that commonly goes hand-in-hand with pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback is performed at a qualified therapist's office. Typically, sensors are placed on the abdomen and the anal canal of the patient, which are connected to a computer. The sensors monitor the changes in the muscles when the pelvic floor contracts and relaxes. The information or ''feedback'' is then studied on the computer to identify irregularities in the muscle group. Any issues found are then prescribed an exercise(s).
Studies and clinical trials have shown that biofeedback has immense potential to improve the quality of life in women dealing with vaginismus (muscle spasm in the pelvic floor), a common cause for sexual discomfort. The process may require a few sessions and sufficient practice of the recommended exercises. The exercises recommended at the end of each session are usually simple enough for one to do at home.
Stimulation by Electricity
This process is usually used for those who have severe pelvic floor weakness and for whom physical exercises are either stressful or less effective. In electrical stimulation, a small piece of a pad is wound around the skin surrounding the vagina and electricity is supplied to it. Through electrical stimulation, the pelvic floor muscles begin to expand and contract and loosen up much like when exercises are performed. At times, this process is carried out in combination with biofeedback. Recent research has concluded that electric stimulation combined with biofeedback could become a strong contender in non-invasive and non-surgical treatment options for chronic pelvic floor muscle disorders.
One of the simplest ways to stretch the pelvic floor muscles that can be done without the need of a therapist or doctor is the use of a dilator. Vaginal dilators are small, tube-like devices that are inserted into the vagina (like a tampon) and gently rotated to stretch the underlying muscles. It is recommended to perform this therapy 3-4 times a week, for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, either as a stand-alone method or in combination with pelvic floor exercises to help improve flexibility. Using a vaginal dilator might be uncomfortable at first because of the insertion process and the tightness of the pelvic muscles, but with proper lubrication and practice, dilators could become a real boon for those who experience painful sex.
Other Ways to Relieve Pain
Research has found significant correlations between depression and pelvic floor dysfunction. Stress and anxiety could also cause pelvic floor muscles to tighten, resulting in painful sex. In addition to pelvic floor therapy, you could also work with a mental health professional to identify and correct any anxiety or stress disorders. Also, it’s wise to educate yourself on the basic functioning of these muscles and be aware of the effects of personal hygiene on the working of these muscles.
Experiencing pain during sex can be difficult to live with both physically as well as emotionally. Physical intimacy doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or painful due to a weak pelvic floor. There are several effective remedies that can improve your sex life. Consider seeking the help of a professional to see if they recommend one of the treatments listed here. Your sex life can improve with proper therapy.
This article was written by Ericka Long.
Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.