Treatments for Female Sexual Dysfunctions
We treat a variety of pelvic pain issues, including female sexual dysfunctions such as vaginismus, vulvodynia, vestibulitis, and more.
Pelvic floor muscles are very important in the physiology of the female sexual response. Physical therapists play an important role in the multidisciplinary team when dealing with sexual dysfunctions. Arousal and orgasmic disorders and sexual pain are areas that pelvic floor physical therapy specialists can assist patients in restoring sexual health and pleasure.
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: This is a blanket term for a variety of problems that can occur with your pelvic floor. These problems range from sexual dysfunction, bowel and/or bladder problems, including incontinence or prolapse, endometriosis, and more. For more information check out voicesforpfd.org.
- Vaginismus: Involuntary muscle spasms involving the superficial and deep pelvic floor muscles that typically cause painful entry, limiting or preventing intercourse, tampon insertion or pelvic exams. Women with vaginismus do not always experience "pain" and often report the feeling of their partner or a tampon "hitting a wall". Pain is also a common presentation when partial or complete penetration occurs. It may also present as minor discomfort with tampons, pelvic exams or intercoruse.
- 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.
- 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. Tissues can be red or swollen at times.
- Painful Bladder Syndrome: 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.
- Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic inflammation within the wall or lining of the bladder involving gaps or spikes in the bladder mucosa. This can cause bladder or pelvic pain above the pubic bone. Pain can also occur in the low back, vaginal, and inner thigh regions. Symptoms typically include frequent urges to urinate, usually in the absence of infection or pathology.
- Pudendal Neuralgia has been described as throbbing or severe stabbing pain along the pathway of the pudendal nerve that runs through the gluteal, pudendal canal and perineal region. This pain typically increases during sitting and is reduced or relieved by sitting on a toilet seat.
- Coccydynia or painful coccyx can occur because of increased pelvic floor muscle tension or coccyx instability. Acute pain can be evident during sit to stand, intercourse, defecation and during menstruation and during and after sitting.
- Levator Ani Syndrome involves chronic or recurrent rectal pain and aching usually > 3 months in duration. Pain also occurs in the sacrum, coccyx, buttocks, and and thighs. Symptoms also increase with sitting.
- Vestibular or Perineal Itching if found to be absent of infection, should be looked at for musculoskeletal contributions. Tight muscles can pull on fascia (a type of connnective tissue), which in turn can pull on the skin and create constant or frequent itching, often mimicking the symptoms of a yeast infection.