Couple in Bed

Pillow
Talk

Why sex can be painful, what changes you might expect before and after pregnancy, and what you can do about it

Your journey back to intimacy.

 

For many people, sex is an important component of their most intimate relationships. However, there are several physical conditions which can impair a woman's ability to enjoy sexual intercourse. While this can be challenging for any person and their partner, it can be especially challenging for new moms who are already facing a slew of new challenges as they adjust to their family's newest addition. 

Let's break down this pain into two general categories: 

 

Vulvodynia: If your pain is primarily external, you may have vulvodynia. Vulvodynia refers to the vulva, including the labia minora and majora (the outer "lips" of the vagina). Pain here is often described as "burning", "raw", or "aching". The pain may spread into the thighs, buttocks, and neighboring areas. 

Vaginismus/dyspareunia: If your pain occurs primarily with penetration, your symptoms may be consistent with Vaginismus. This means that your pain is primarily generated by internal structures of the pelvic floor, which may include muscles, nerves, connective tissues, and other organs. 

Why me? If you have never had pain with sex, you may be wondering why it developed. Or perhaps you have always had pain with sex, and have resigned yourself to the reality that, for you, this is "just how sex is". Unfortunately, many women are left in the dark as to how their pelvic pain developed. Some common reasons include: 

  • Painful, tight muscles, including those of the pelvic floor and hip

  • Activities and habits that create patterns of muscle tension in the body

  • Trauma, including surgery, pregnancy, and childbirth

  • Stress, anxiety, and other states of mental or emotional distress

  • Medications, including supplements

  • Nerve entrapment or compression 

  • Skin conditions and diseases

  • Hormonal changes

Is there a way out? The list above is not exhaustive, and it can be overwhelming to consider the possible causes of your pelvic pain. Unfortunately, most women start to feel anxiety regarding the fact that they cannot comfortably have intercourse, and therefore begin to avoid intimate interactions with their partner. This pattern of avoidance often leads to people feeling disconnected from their partner and guilty or frustrated with themselves. 

The first step is finding help. You are not alone; Foundations treats people from all walks of life who are battling with pain as a barrier to sexual intimacy. Through caring, expert assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, we provide you with education regarding you and your body's specific challenges, as well as a pathway forward towards healing. 

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