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Understanding and Managing Pain with Intercourse

As a physical therapist who specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, one of the most common diagnoses that I treat here at the clinic is dyspareunia, or pain with intercourse. This is a something that can occur at anytime and it can affect all individuals of all genders. If this is something you’re dealing with, you are NOT alone and you do NOT have to live with this for the rest of your life. 

You may be wondering, “Why does pain with intercourse even happen… isn’t supposed to be enjoyable?!” There are various causes including physical, psychological, and medical factors. These may include, but are not limited to, vaginal dryness, frequent UTIs, inflammation, scar tissue or trauma, emotional factors like anxiety, and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. It is important to identify the root cause in order to receive effective treatment. 

Getting evaluated by a pelvic floor therapist is a must if you’re having pain with intercourse. Pelvic floor therapists have specialized training and expertise, which makes us valuable allies in your journey to relief! We’d begin with a comprehensive assessment including a detailed history and performing a physical examination of your posture, movement patterns, joint mobility and tension, an internal pelvic floor muscle assessment, etc. Each individual person will then receive a plan of care based on their needs. We tailor treatment plans to address your specific needs— not everyone that experiences painful intercourse will have the same exercises and education. Throughout your treatment, we offer guidance, support, and tools that you need for a pain-free intimate life! The number of sessions and the frequency of your appointments will depend on your unique situation. We'll work together to achieve your goals.

Managing pain with intercourse is a comprehensive process that encompasses not only physical aspects but also psychological and emotional components. It is important to maintain open, honest communication with your healthcare providers, your partner, and your pelvic floor physical therapist. It's essential for a successful treatment journey. Remember that your overall health and well-being are intertwined— self-care, stress management, and a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact your journey.

If you’re experiencing pain with intercourse, I highly recommend scheduling an initial evaluation with a pelvic floor therapist. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dealing with it for 3 weeks or 3 years— you can still get help! 

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