Approximately 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. The pain can be superficial on the outside of the vagina or deep within your vagina. Pain may also be felt in the lower back, uterus, bladder or pelvic region. For some people pain is temporary and others it is a frequent occurrence.
There can be many influences that contribute to pain during intercourse. These include psychological, social and physical factors meaning treatment may require a multi-factorial approach. If you experience symptoms speak to your general practitioner as they can guide you in the right direction.
Once you have seen your general practitioner or specialist they will confirm if it has to do with the pelvic floor. If so, a physiotherapist who specialises in the pelvic floor can help.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is made up of various muscles and connective tissue called fascia which attach from the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis and tail bone at the back. It is shaped similar to a hammock that lifts and holds the pelvic organs in place and also has a role to keep women continent (the ability to hold in urine, wind and faeces).
The pelvic floor muscle is like any other. Physiotherapists can teach exercises to relax and retrain the pelvic floor muscle. At times we are unsure how to use the pelvic floor muscle, for example during intercourse which can cause disruption. Physiotherapists can also give education to understand more about pelvic health and bladder and bowel factors that may be contributing to pain symptoms.
What can you expect when you see a physiotherapist?
- A thorough subjective and objective assessment examination to determine the cause of the pain
- A pelvic examination to help determine the cause of the pain
- Individualised treatment program including self management strategies
- A plan for longer term management
If you are experiencing the above symptoms come and see one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists for a consult and individualised review.