Pain with sexual intercourse, also known as dyspareunia, is recurring pain that can occur before, during or after vaginal intercourse. This can occur due to a number of reasons. A pelvic phyisotherapist may be involved in your care if your pelvic floor muscles are contributing to your pain. Also known as vaginismus. This is a condition when the pelvic floor muscles contract or spasm causing pain affecting the ability to have vaginal intercourse.
When I had first heard of the term vaginismus, I was really confused and scared, as this was something I had not heard about before or studied growing up through high school. When I was first diagnosed with vaginismus at age 20, I never knew the work or commitment I had to make to myself in order to have pain free intercourse.
Before being diagnosed, I was experiencing a lot of pain and pressure when attempting sexual intercourse for the first time. At first, I thought this was completely normal, and the pain I was experiencing was to be expected. I would feel a burning and very painful feeling and a sense of being “blocked” when attempting penetrative sex, which I quickly learnt was not supposed to be happening. I spoke to my doctor about my pain and was given a referral to one of the local hospitals, where I then was referred to a therapist. Unfortunately after about 4-5 months of seeing them, I was still experiencing painful sex and very painful symptoms of vaginismus. I went back to my GP and then got referred to Inner Active Pelvic Health and Physiotherapy, who I have been seeing for 3 years now. The pelvic physiotherapists have been very supportive and patient with me through all our sessions and we have explored different avenues and other theories as to why I was experiencing such a high pain threshold during sexual intercourse. I learnt that diet and keeping active via stretching and supporting our muscles, are all ways to help with pain management of vaginismus.
With continuous practice at home with dilators, regular physio sessions and speaking with a psychologist, I could see myself making progress. I soon discovered Botox treatment could be something that may give me some relief but was not readily available locally. After much research and discussion with my care team, I decided to pursue this treatment which I received interstate.
Now at the age of 26, and I am able to successfully manage the pain I was experiencing from vaginismus after almost 6 years. It has been a very long process to get where I am now. Dealing with pelvic pain did take a very big toll on my mental health. No matter how hard I tried to stay positive, I felt my body was letting me down, I felt inferior to other women and I never thought I would be in the position I am today. I would not have achieved any of this without the support and guidance from my GP, psychologists, the therapists at Inner Active Pelvic Health and interstate medical staff.
Find the link below that provides more information:
- Pelvic Pain ; https://www.pelvicpain.org.au/?v=ef10366317f4
- Botx and Pelvic pain: https://www.whria.com.au/for-patients/pelvic-pain/vaginismus/
- Pelvic Physiotherapy pelvic pain
Jennifer Jones * (Name not real to protect patient privacy)