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Heather Jeffcoat at Healthline
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citrus fruit representing vaginal scarring
Image courtesy of Healthline.com
In this Healthline article written by Gabrielle Kassel on May 29, 2020, Heather Jeffcoat was tapped for her experise on vaginal scarring and its effects on painful penetration during sex, tampon insertion, etc. Here are some excerpts from the article, and a link to the full article is shown below.

Yes, it’s possible to have scarring down there

Experts estimate around 75 percent of women find sex painful at some point in their life.

Known by medical personnel as “dyspareunia,” there are basically a bajillion different reasons this could happen.

One of them is vaginal or vulvar scarring.

What exactly is it?

Scar tissue is the body’s way of healing what’s been damaged or injured — it’s the body’s healing mechanism,” says Heather Jeffcoat, a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in sexual dysfunction, pain, and incontinence, and author of “Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve.”

Vaginal scarring occurs when scar tissue has developed inside the vagina as a result of injury, damage, or tearing — like during vaginal childbirth.

Scarring on the outside of the vagina (the vulva) is also possible.

How to recognize it (if you can’t already)

If you ever fell riding your bike or sliced a finger cutting an avocado, you know this to be true: The tissue the body lays down to heal a wound isn’t the exact same type of tissue that was there previously.

It’s stiffer, thicker, and usually either numb or much more sensitive than the surrounding tissue (or skin).

Well, surprise, surprise: This is also true for scar tissue inside the vaginal canal or on the vulva.

So, while there are different types of scars, you’ll likely be able to see the scars on your clitoris, labia, or perineum and around the vaginal opening, either by looking down or holding a mirror between your legs.

What can cause vaginal and vulvar scar tissue?

Anything that causes trauma — that’s tearing, microtearing, puncturing, or splitting — to the area can lead to vaginal scarring.

Beyond pain: How to make sex pleasurable

Once we’ve addressed the pain, we can start to work towards pleasure,” Jeffcoat says.

Here’s what that might look like.

Try sex positions that put you in charge

Penetration may not be on the sex menu for you. But if it’s something you want to try, Jeffcoat recommends positions that either limit the depth of penetration or put the vulva owner in charge of the action.

For instance:

Check out the Ohnut

If the scarring is deep inside the vaginal canal, you might also try using the Ohnut,” Jeffcoat says.

[This] is a device the penis owner or dildo wearer can slide down their shaft to reduce how deep they’re able to enter,” she explains.

And in case you’re wondering: It doesn’t feel like a cock ring. Rather, it doesn’t feel like much of anything.

Buy the Ohnut here.

Give the clit some love

Who needs penetration to experience pleasure when the clit alone has 8,000 nerve endings??

If you’re using your fingers, experiment with different types of strokes:

  • Stroke from the top down and then from the bottom up.
  • Tap on the clitoral hood.
  • Swipe diagonally left to right and then right to left.
  • Use clockwise and counterclockwise circles.

Use lube!

The reason you used a Q-tip with lube is to reduce irritating friction. And that’s the benefit of using lube during sex.

Lube cannot fix vaginal scarring, but it may help make those scars less sensitive to touch,” Jeffcoat.

There is much more useful info in the original article. Continue reading the full article at Healthline here.

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Testimonial by M.M.

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

My husband and I were married for 5 years before we were able to have intercourse due to my vaginismus. There was nothing traumatic in my past but for some reason, even though I wanted sex, I mentally avoided "that area" of my body and didn't even admit to myself that there was a problem for a long time, even though I was never able to put tampons in. Once I finally opened my eyes up to the fact that I had a problem, I had a surgery that was supposed to fix the issue.

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by Y.L. (mom of 2)

After having my second baby via C-section I searched for months to try to find help for my lower back pain and separated abdominal muscles. I finally came across Heather Jeffcoat via a mommy blog. I reached out to her via email and set my first appointment. My first appointment went amazing … she listened to what my symptoms, check my separation and explained to me in detail what the next steps would be. Not only did my abdominal separation go from 3 to about 1 -1/2 but my back has pain has significantly reduced. I’m personally recommending all my mommy friends to Heather!

Y.L. (mom of 2)

Testimonial by T.C.

While pregnant with my twins, Heather took care with keeping me on my feet and pain free. She saved my back, my sanity and the holidays! I would recommend her to every “mom” looking to stay on her feet during pregnancy and post-partum.

-- T.C.

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

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