As many as 1 in 4 women experience pain with intercourse, a condition known as dyspareunia. As a pelvic physiotherapist I often help treat women with this problem. Most people, including some health professionals, don’t realize that the muscles of the pelvic floor can become overly tight and painful just like any other muscles in our bodies.
This can be one of the factors leading to painful sex. Not only can overly tight pelvic muscles result in pain and discomfort but they can also become weak. Muscles that don’t relax can’t strengthen, for example, if you continually kept your fist in a clenched position, over time the muscles would weaken. The same thing happens with the muscles of the pelvic floor. Tight, weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems such as urinary urgency, frequency and in some cases incontinence. For these muscles to be healthy and functional they need to have both suppleness and strength.
A pelvic physiotherapist can accurately diagnose if this is the reason an individual may be having pain with intercourse.
Treatment involves exercises and techniques designed to improve the flexibility and voluntary control of the pelvic floor. I recommend that the patients that I am treating for this condition use the ”crystal wand” to help with home treatment. This device can be used to help treat painful trigger points within the pelvic floor muscles and can be used to help maintain the flexibility of the tissues.
Proper use should be discussed with a qualified pelvic floor rehabilitation physiotherapist to ensure that the device is being used correctly and for the correct conditions. In Ontario a list of qualified physiotherapist who treat this condition can be found at www.pelvichealthsolutions.ca