Dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, is a condition that affects many women but often goes undiscussed due to either a lack of awareness or avoidance of a "taboo" topic. We believe in normalizing conversations about dyspareunia and helping you through pelvic health physiotherapy. 

What is Dyspareunia?
Dyspareunia is characterized by persistent or recurrent pain during or after sexual intercourse. This pain can be superficial (at the entrance of the vagina) or deep (felt inside the pelvis). The causes of dyspareunia are varied and can include physical, emotional, and psychological factors.

Common Causes of Dyspareunia:

  • Physical Causes: Infections, vaginal dryness, dermatologic conditions, endometriosis, nerve problems, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and childbirth-related injuries.
  • Emotional Causes: Stress, anxiety, depression, and past trauma.
  • Other Factors: Hormonal changes, certain medications, and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.

The Importance of Normalizing Conversations About Dyspareunia
Talking openly about dyspareunia is crucial for several reasons:

  • Reducing Stigma: It helps reduce the stigma associated with sexual health issues, making it easier for women to seek help.
  • Increasing Awareness: Awareness leads to better understanding and recognition of the condition.
  • Encouraging Treatment: Open discussions can encourage more women to seek professional help and effective treatments.

How Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Can Help
Pelvic health physiotherapy is a specialized area of physiotherapy focusing on the muscles, ligaments, and tissues of the pelvic floor. It offers a holistic approach to treating dyspareunia, addressing both physical and some psychological aspects of the condition.

  1. Comprehensive Assessment and Diagnosis

    A pelvic health physiotherapist conducts a thorough assessment to identify the underlying causes of dyspareunia. This includes taking a detailed history, assessing your posture and movement, as well as evaluating the pelvic floor muscles, and any contributing factors such as stress or hormonal changes. This may or may not include a pelvic examination, but this is dependent on the situation, is completely up to you, and is only done if you provide consent and if you are comfortable. There are alternatives provided in the case you do not want one. Your therapist will always talk through what each part of the assessment entails,, how it would help, discuss any risks/alternatives and ask your consent before proceeding.

  2. Personalized Treatment Plans

    Based on the assessment, a personalized treatment plan tailored to the individual's specific needs. Treatment may include:

    a. Pelvic floor rehabilitation: Strengthening or relaxing, or improving the dynamic reactability of the pelvic floor muscles to improve function and reduce pain.

    b. Manual Therapy: For example, techniques to improve blood flow and alleviate pain, de-sensitive sensitive tissues and improve scar tissue mobility.

    c. Biofeedback: Using technology to provide visual or auditory feedback on muscle activity, helping women learn how to control their pelvic floor muscles.

    d. Relaxation Techniques: Strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to muscle tension and pain.

    e. Education and Counseling: Providing information on sexual health, pain management, and techniques to make intercourse more comfortable.

    Home exercise programmes and use of different tools: All patients will likely be given “homework” or a specific exercise programme as consistency outside the clinic is often where the big difference is made. Sometimes they may also recommend specific products or tools to use to help with this.

    Pelvic health physiotherapists usually work alongside your medical team throughout this process. Our pelvic health physiotherapists use a personalized biopsychosocial approach and treatment and techniques that are backed by the most up-to-date evidence and research.

  3. Long-Term Improvement and Support

    Pelvic health physiotherapy not only focuses on immediate pain relief but also aims for long-term improvement and independence. Our goal is to make sure you reach your goals and maintain them without needing our help to stay there!

Benefits of Pelvic Health Physiotherapy for Dyspareunia

  • Pain Relief: Effective management of pain during and after intercourse.
  • Improved Pelvic Floor Function: Enhanced muscle control and strength, reducing discomfort.
  • Better Sexual Health: Increased comfort and satisfaction during sexual activities.
  • Enhanced Emotional Well-Being: Reduced anxiety and stress related to dyspareunia, leading to improved overall quality of life.
  • Personalized Care: Tailored treatment plans that address the unique needs of each person.

So, what next? 
Dyspareunia is a common but often overlooked condition that can significantly impact a woman's quality of life. It's important to normalize conversations about dyspareunia and recognize that effective treatments are available. Pelvic health physio offers a comprehensive and personalized approach to managing and improving dyspareunia, providing both immediate relief and long-term benefits. We are proud to have three expert therapists who provide pelvic health physiotherapy at Hollyburn Physiotherapy Clinic

If you are experiencing dyspareunia, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Schedule an appointment today and take the first step towards being pain-free.

Francesca Ruddick

Francesca Ruddick

Contact Me