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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 R.D., age 38

"I had a severe tear during childbirth that was not stitched together correctly and therefore healed poorly. Even after having a surgery a year later to remove the scar tissue, I was still having pain, and no one could explain why -- there was no overt 'reason' to explain the pain. I had tried other 'specialists' and even saw another physical therapist who had me do hip / leg stretches -- what a joke! I was about to give up and just 'live with it' until thankfully I kept searching online and found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by R.D., age 38

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

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Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by J.B.

My husband and I were having problems with painful intercourse. My therapist recommended that I go and get a pelvic floor evaluation from a physical therapist. Having never been treated by a physical therapist, I wondered how this really was going to help me. My husband who is a physician was very supportive and agreed that a PT evaluation would be a great idea. So i made the appointment and was blown away by what I learned. I had no idea that pelvic floor muscles could get tight and have trigger points just like any other muscle in the body. I'm a massage therapist and very familiar with tight muscles, and this new thought really amazed me. Heather's program to help relax and strengthen these muscles made such a difference. I can say that I am 100% pain free during intercourse now. Yippee! Going to the PT appointments and doing the at-home exercises was definitely a discipline, but it's 100% worth it! The rewards are amazing.

-- J.B.

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I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me for the past 19 months. I literally could not have reached my goals without you and your practice. You gave me the courage to keep moving forth with my treatment no matter how afraid and anxious I was. You were always there to answer questions and made this whole process so much easier than I expected it to be.

It's because of you that my marriage is on the right track, that I can get pregnant and that this part of my life is finally over. I really feel that Fusion Wellness is a team of people you can call family and are there to root for you and cheer you on until you reach your goals. There is nothing better than knowing I accomplished this with you guys by my side and as calmly and patiently as I needed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there and helping me reach my goals.

S.H., age 24

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.

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