Dyspareunia Symptoms and Treatments
- Written by Heather Jeffcoat, DPT
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"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."
PHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENTS FOR PELVIC PAIN SYNDROMES:
Many of the pelvic pain syndromes as described are related to over activity of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles typically have a high resting tone and have difficulty in relaxation. Increased muscle tone can also lead to overall muscular weakness.
Trigger points are commonly found when palpating these muscles. They contribute to the urologic and gynecological pain syndromes listed above, preventing pain free sexual intercourse and other pain free activities of daily living.
Physical therapy treatments play an integral part in restoring optimal muscle function with manual therapy interventions, stretching/strengthening exercises, pain management strategies, patient education, and home program instruction. Biofeedback is often utilized when appropriate to restore the normal functioning of painful muscles.