Continuing to have sex that is painful will perpetuate or reinforce the pain. This is because the mind is already anticipating the pain, it is a known response within the same environment you keep putting yourself in - having sex with your partner. But if we can remove the "red flags" from the brain and place you in control through the use of dilators, we can re-train the brain. We can unwind that "fight or flight" response within the nervous system.
When you start with an extra small dilator and can insert it, move it, do self stretches with no to low pain - then the brain starts to realize that "ok, that wasn't so bad" and the secondary response of muscular tensions ease, allowing for less pain. Scanning and mapping the pelvic floor alongside your dilator use also helps the brain perceive these muscles in a more normalized way. This allows for much less "red flag signals" being sent to the brain. Your overall confidence level with repeated successful sessions with the dilator and vaginal canal mapping allows you return to intercourse with low to no pain. So essentially what you are doing is changing the perception in your brain about the health of your vagina and decreasing the sensitivity of the nervous system to keep muscle tension in check.
Along with dilator work there are other exercises such as flexibility work to the hips and trunk and relaxation breathing to quiet the nervous system. It is important that during this process you abstain from sexual intercourse. But of course this is not to say that you abstain from intimacy. We strongly recommend the personalized training of a women's health physical therapist to guide you. You can also use these and other techniques taught in our DVD guide under the consultation of a health care provider.
*Be advised that some conditions such as Vulvar Vestibulodynia (Vestibulitis) may need further medical management before beginning the use of dilators.
If you suffer from Pudendal Neuralgia and/or other chronic pelvic pain conditions, we encourage you to keep an eye on the Pudendal Neuralgia Association's Events Page. Several upcoming events include:
- May 27, 2015 at 7:30PM Eastern: Videoconference Support Group lead by Spiritual Psychotherapist MaryBeth Scalice, M.A., Ed.D and Dahri McFaline, M.Ed.
- June 9, 2015 at 7:00PM Eastern: Physical Therapy and Pudendal Neuralgia Webinar with Amy Stein. Amy Stein, DPT, BCB-PMD is the founder of and premier practitioner at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in NYC. She will be presenting on how pelvic floor physical therapists evaluate and treat Pudendal Neuralgia. She will discuss when to try PT, when to get a second opinion, what to look for and what to do at home. She will also answer questions.
To join the online meeting events, download Fuze.com and send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an email invitation to join the video conference 15 minutes before it begins. If you prefer to join by phone, that phone number is included in the invitation email. The virtual gatherings are free of charge. But you must preregister by contacting PNA via email@example.com.
We asked women's health professionals (medical doctors, physical therapists, professional associations & networks) and patients (with chronic pelvic pain, painful sex, persistent genital pain) to review the DVD/Digital Download:Healing the Pain 'Down There' A Guide for Females with Persistent Genital and Sexual Pain. They took about 4 weeks to review the 30+ chapters and supplemental material. We hope you'll take a look at what they had to say (click the image below). Next step: production! Finally!
The Sexual Partners Support Page has just been updated with content. We asked several anonymous individuals with partners experiencing persistent genital, sexual and pelvic pain to answer some questions for us.
We encourage partners to take a look at this page and read through the answers to questions that others in similar situations have honestly communicated. We hope that through this page sexual partners will be encouraged and strengthened, knowing that they are not alone.
Stephanie Yeager: Passionate about spreading the word of hope and healing for those like her, influencing a paradigm shift in the medical community toward greater understanding of chronic pelvic pain disorders, and prevention initiatives that may protect young women before onset can occur.