Dyspareunia (pain with intercourse)
Dyspareunia refers to pain experienced during or after sexual intercourse. It can have various causes, including musculoskeletal issues, pelvic floor dysfunction, scar tissue, hormonal changes, or psychological factors. Physical therapy can be an effective approach to addressing dyspareunia and improving sexual function. Here’s how physical therapy can help:
- Evaluation and assessment: A physical therapist specializing in pelvic health will conduct a thorough evaluation to identify the underlying causes and contributing factors of dyspareunia. This may involve assessing pelvic floor muscle tone, strength, flexibility, and coordination, and other factors such as posture and scar tissue.
- Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation: If pelvic floor dysfunction is contributing to dyspareunia, physical therapists can guide you through exercises to relax and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This may include relaxation techniques, trigger point release, stretching exercises, and biofeedback training to improve muscle function and alleviate pain.
- Scar tissue management: Physical therapists can use manual therapy techniques, such as scar mobilization and massage, to address any scar tissue that may be causing pain or restriction. By improving the mobility and flexibility of scar tissue, physical therapy can help reduce discomfort during intercourse.
- Education and counseling: Physical therapists can provide education on sexual health, anatomy, and factors that may contribute to dyspareunia. They can also offer counseling and guidance on communication with your partner, relaxation techniques, and strategies to address any psychological or emotional factors that may be impacting sexual function.
- Pain management techniques: Physical therapists can teach you pain management strategies, including breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and positioning suggestions to help reduce pain during sexual activity.
- Lubrication and dilator therapy: Physical therapists may recommend the use of vaginal lubricants or dilators to help improve comfort and reduce pain during sexual intercourse. They can provide guidance on their proper use and help you gradually progress through dilator therapy if necessary.
- Collaborative approach: Physical therapists often work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as gynecologists, sex therapists, or psychologists, to ensure a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to managing dyspareunia.
Our skilled team of pelvic floor physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to identify areas of impairment that are contributing to your symptoms. Following the exam, your physical therapist will work with you to create a plan of care that best suits your personal goals and needs.