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Female Sexual Pain Syndromes
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Female Sexual Pain Syndromes, Including Vaginismus, Dyspareunia, Vulvodynia, Vulvar Vestibulitis/Vestibulodynia, and Anorgasmia/Dysorgasmia

Female sexual pain syndromes causing painful intercourse can occur for a number of reasons. Many women have painful intercourse at some point in their lives.

The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia ('dis-puh-ROO-nee-uh'), which the Mayo Clinic defines as "... persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse."

Painful Bladder Syndrome / Interstitial Cystitis:

This pain or discomfort is perceived to be related to the bladder upon filling or often immediately after emptying. Symptoms include urinary urgency with pressure, burning and aching pain along with increased frequency, > 8 times per day, and > 3 months duration.

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Endometriosis and Chronic Pelvic Pain

How Endometriosis can cause or contribute to chronic pelvic pain and what pelvic floor therapy can do to help alleviate it.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial-like tissue grows outside of the uterus (endometrial tissue is tissue that usually grows inside of the uterus and sheds each month). The most common area for it to grow is in the abdominal cavity, where it can implant of the surface of other structures including the ovaries, bladder, rectum, and along the walls of the abdomen and pelvis.

The true prevalence of endometriosis is unknown, since it takes a laparoscopic procedure to confirm the diagnosis and others are either have no symptoms or seek no treatment (Signorello, Harlow, Cramer, Spiegelman, & Hill, 1997). However, up to 78% of women undergoing laparoscopic investigation for infertility and up to 82% of women investigated for pelvic pain were found to have endometriosis in one study (Schenken, 1996; Wellbery).

Actress Lena Dunham has been vocal about her experiences with endometriosis, most recently publishing an essay in American Vogue on electing to have a total hysterectomy after years of chronic pain due to the condition.

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Dyspareunia:

From Wikipedia:
"Dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse due to medical or psychological causes. The symptoms are significantly more common in women than in men. The pain can primarily be on the external surface of the genitalia, or deeper in the pelvis upon deep pressure against the cervix. It can affect a small portion of the vulva or vagina or be felt all over the surface. Understanding the duration, location, and nature of the pain is important in identifying the causes of the pain."

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Vulvodynia:

Vulvodynia means “vulvar pain” or pain of the external female genital region. Symptoms include burning, stinging, and irritation of the tissues in this region. Light touch or pressure can cause severe pain with sitting, walking, riding a bicycle, and sexual intercourse. Vulvodynia is a general term, and there are many subtypes, including vulvar vestibulitis (inflammation of the vulvar vestibule), vestibulodynia (pain in the vulvar vestibule) and clitorodynia (painful clitoris).

Some links to more information:

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Vaginismus Recovery - Diagnoses and Treatments

Is it painful to insert a tampon, get through a gynecological pelvic exam, or engage in intercourse? Have you always just thought maybe it’s just supposed to hurt and began to shy away from it all? You’re not alone. There are many women who have felt and thought the same things. What you are feeling is real and the culprit may be a condition called Vaginismus.

What is Vaginismus?

The definition of Vaginismus has been debated over the years and was first introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), Third Edition in 1980. It was defined as a “recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with sexual intercourse”.1 And now in the DSM, Fifth Edition categorized as a disorder in which any form of vaginal penetration or insertion such as tampons, a digit, gynecological exams, vaginal dilators and intercourse is painful or impossible. Women have described it as “hitting a wall”. This disorder has been put under the umbrella of genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (GPPPD) in conjunction with dyspareunia (“recurrent or persistent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse”).2

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Vulvar Vestibulitis/Vestibulodynia:

Vulvar Vestibulitis/Vestibulodynia is a form of vulvodynia with tenderness specific to the vulvar vestibule. This occurs with pressure to the site causing pain at the vaginal opening with touch or attempted penetration (provoked vestibulodynia) or can also present as constant or frequent pain, irritation, or itching of the vulvar vestibule (unprovoked vestibulodynia). Tissues may also be red or swollen at times.

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Anorgasmia (No Orgasms)

Anorgasmia is the persistent inability to achieve orgasm despite responding to sexual stimulation. The Mayo Clinic further defines as the lack of orgasms distresses you or interferes with your relationship with your partner:

By definition, the major symptoms of anorgasmia are the inability to have an orgasm or long delays in reaching orgasm that's distressing to you. But there are different types of anorgasmia:

  • Lifelong anorgasmia. You've never had an orgasm.
  • Acquired anorgasmia. You used to have orgasms, but now have difficulty reaching climax.
  • Situational anorgasmia. You're able to have an orgasm only in certain circumstances, such as during oral sex or masturbation or only with a certain partner.
  • Generalized anorgasmia. You aren't able to have an orgasm in any situation or with any partner.

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What They Say About Us

  • Testimonials

    • Testimonial by T.H.

      I started seeing Heather in October 2014. For more than two years, I had been suffering from painful urinary tract infection type symptoms after my bartholins gland surgery which included constant burning and urinary frequency sensation that led to more and more painful intercourse.  I had made multiple visits to internist, obgyn and urologist's offices, went through a range of treatment with UTI and bladder frequency medication that included antibiotics, vesicare, estrogen cream, but nothing...

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  • Testimonials

    • Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

      I can’t speak highly enough of Nancy, and how much she has helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my...

      Read more Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

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