Today's post comes from Cecile Gibbs, a physical therapist at ATI Physical Therapy in Elkton, Md.,who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
This time of year, it’s normal to be overwhelmed by store shelves full of greeting cards, candy hearts, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and to dread having to pick out the perfect gift for your special someone. However, it’s not normal to dread an evening with that special someone because of the pain you experience each time you have intercourse.
Even though one in three women say they’ve experienced pain during intercourse, it’s not supposed to be that way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18 or 81, sex shouldn’t to be painful for you.
I've dealt with a lot of men and women who think that pain during intercourse is normal and “just the way it is.” That's not the case. I've been able to work with each of them to explain what causes discomfort and to help them achieve pleasurable, pain-free intercourse through physical therapy.
What to expect
When you seek therapy to relieve pain during intercourse, you’ll work with a physical therapist who’s specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Patients typically go to therapy once or twice a week for two to six months, depending on the severity of the case, and work on these four components:
Aerobics: Anything cardio-related (biking, walking, jogging, etc.) helps increase blood flow to relax the body.
Stretching: Stretching loosens up the muscles while increasing flexibility.
Core strengthening: Lower ab and core strength is to key to improving functionality of pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic strengthening: Physical therapists use Kegel exercises to contract and relax the muscles.
As part of therapy, your physical therapist provides you with resources to reintroduce pain-free intercourse. Resources include…
Positioning: Learning how to properly position yourself during intercourse to minimize discomfort
Proper lubrication: Understanding what types of lubrication methods are available to help achieve comfortable intercourse
Medications: In many cases, the therapist works with the patient and doctor to help them minimize pain through medicinal methods.
Want to learn more about pelvic floor rehabilitation and what causes pain during intercourse? Visit "Physical therapy offers options to minimize pain during intercourse."