Do you suffer from pain or discomfort during sex?
5 Ways physiotherapy can help you
It is reported that 57% of women with overactive or ‘tight’ pelvic floor muscles report dyspareunia (pain with sex). Pelvic pain following sexual activity can last for up to 3 days and can have a negative impact on the integrity of physical relationships and a woman’s quality of life.
When you suffer pain in certain situations your brain creates a neuro-signature. This is when our brain programs a response in relation to a painful activity/situation and your body subconsciously braces for pain. When you expect pain your body’s ability to regulate stress goes into overdrive, your heart rate and blood pressure increases, and your muscles become ‘tense’ and go into involuntary spasm.
This neuro-signature associated with painful sex creates a response where your pelvic floor muscles tighten, become inflexible and sometimes incapable of allowing penetration during intimacy.
Below are 5 ways Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help achieve pain free sex:
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Assists with the mobilization of your pelvic floor. If you imagine the diaphragm being the lid and the pelvic floor being the base, both must move up and down simultaneously. As you breathe in, the diaphragm moves down, pressure in your abdomen increases and your pelvic floor stretches. Meanwhile, as you breathe out your diaphragm comes back up and pressure in your abdomen decreases as your pelvic floor rises. This movement of your pelvic floor with deep breathing can assist to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
2. Retraining your pelvic floor
Like any tight muscle in your body, when you have tightness the muscle is unable to function appropriately. This can lead to reduced pelvic floor muscle strength, urinary incontinence, constipation and reduced orgasm. Learning how to appropriately relax your pelvic floor is an integral part of treatment prior to strengthening the pelvic floor muscle to get a full contraction and relaxation phase.
3. Dilator therapy
Once your pelvic floor is able to contract and appropriately relax, dilator therapy helps to stretch your pelvic floor muscles and desensitize tissue and nerves.
4. Pelvic Floor Trigger Point Therapy
When your muscles become ‘tight’ or overactive you can develop myofascial dysfunction or ‘knots’ within the muscle belly. This can lead to active or latent trigger points within skeletal muscles; Active trigger points – can cause spontaneously painful areas without physical stimuli (e.g. aching or pain following sex). Latent trigger points – pain on physical palpation (e.g. deep pain with penetration). Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists can trigger point the pelvic floor muscles with palpation to reduce muscle tension.
5. Myofascial release
When your pelvic floor is tight, usually other muscle’s in the body specifically surrounding your pelvis also become tight and dysfunctional. A physiotherapist will assess you with a holistic approach.
If you experience pain during or after sex contact Create Health and make an appointment with our Pelvic floor & Continence Physiotherapist, Rachel Fitt, to discuss further and find out how she can help you.