Pain With Sexual Intercourse And The Role of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy in Enhancing Intimacy - Morris Bernards Moms

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to bring up the topic of sex than now!

For so many women, the topic of pelvic floor health and its impact on intimacy and sexual health remains very hush hush. This can leave many women feeling depressed, isolated, and maybe even disconnected from their partners. Addressing issues related to painful intercourse and orgasm difficulties is crucial for overall sexual health. Many people have no idea where they can find help. They may have discussed their concerns with their doctor but still left with minimal to no advice.

Pain with sexual intercourse is common and can be influenced by many factors such tight overactive pelvic floor muscles, infection, endometriosis, painful bladder syndrome, or injury to the pelvic floor muscles during childbirth. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression or sexual trauma can also be a cause of painful sexual intercourse.

Many women who we see in pelvic floor physical therapy have told us that because pain with sex was so common amongst their mom friends, they thought it was ‘normal’ to have pain after kids, so they just decided to live with it. But just because it’s ‘common’, doesn’t mean it’s ‘normal’. Women may describe the pain as burning, stinging, sharp upon penetration and as penetration gets deeper, many women describe it as a deep ache or ‘hitting a wall’. Some women also experience aching or throbbing pain after intercourse or maybe even pain during orgasm.

Painful intercourse is strongly associated with overactive pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that form a hammock-like structure at the base of the pelvis. These muscles play a crucial role in supporting pelvic organs, maintaining bowel and bladder control, and contributing to sexual function. When these muscles become tense, weak, or imbalanced, it can lead to a range of issues, including painful intercourse and difficulties in achieving orgasms.

Pelvic floor physical therapy is a transformative and empowering approach to addressing painful intercourse and enhancing orgasms by addressing this tension and overactivity. Pelvic floor physical therapy incorporates exercises to teach awareness of the pelvic floor muscles, provides targeted exercises to help relax and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and educates women on how to self manage and improve pelvic floor health at home for an enjoyable sexual experience.

How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Works

Assessment and Evaluation: A pelvic floor physical therapy session typically begins with a comprehensive assessment of the muscles around the hips, inner thighs, abdominals and pelvic floor muscles, . A skilled pelvic floor physical therapist will inquire about your medical history, birth history, bowel and bladder issues, and any specific concerns related to sexual function.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training: Through targeted exercises, pelvic floor physical therapy aims to restore flexibility, strength, and coordination to the pelvic floor muscles. This may involve both internal and external techniques, depending on the comfort and tolerance level of the patient, empowering individuals to gain awareness and control over these crucial muscles.

Relaxation Techniques: For those experiencing pelvic floor muscle tension, relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and guided imagery may be incorporated. Learning to release tension in the pelvic floor can contribute to a more comfortable and pleasurable sexual experience, as well as reduced low back, hip and knee pain.

Education and Lifestyle Modifications: Pelvic floor physical therapists provide valuable education on maintaining pelvic health, including lifestyle modifications and self-care practices. Beyond addressing painful intercourse, pelvic floor physical therapy can also positively impact orgasm difficulties. A balanced and responsive pelvic floor contributes to increased blood flow, enhanced nerve function, and improved muscle coordination—all essential factors for a satisfying orgasm. By addressing any underlying issues, pelvic floor physical therapy helps women connect intimately with their partner.

Some tips to get you started:
● Use deep breathing during insertion when you start to feel the pain. This will help your muscles to relax to make insertion more comfortable.
● Try doing some hip stretches that help to loosen the inner thigh and buttock muscles before sex. This can help the muscles relax which can help with the pain.
● Using pillows to prop the knees or a small pillow under the buttocks can also position your pelvis and hips so that you don’t have as much tension in the muscles so you can truly relax during intercourse.

If you’re looking for help or have more questions, click here to speak with one of our expert pelvic floor physical therapists.

You can also visit us at How We Help Women – Body Moksha Physical Therapy to learn more about how we can help you.

We can be reached by phone call or text at 973-310-2678 to talk to one of our team members to learn more.

This article was done in partnership with Dr. Tejal Ramaiya, PT, DPT, CSCS, TPI-MP, CMTPT/DN of Body Moksha Physical Therapy in Chatham. Be sure to follow them on social media below and reach out directly to request a consultation.

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