Vulva or vaginal pain syndromes (such as Vaginismus, Vestibulodynia, Vulvodynia) are complex and often poorly understood. They can also be severely painful and debilitating for the sufferer. Sexual activity can be traumatic and even impossible. Tight clothing or bike riding can often flare it up, and sometimes there is a continual burning pain with no relief. Unfortunately, the delicate nature of the area means that the problem is often ignored, with women suffering in silence. Furthermore, the poor understanding of these issues in the medical community means that investigations and treatments are often fruitless, and women feel hopeless.
However – it is NOT all in your head! Recent years have more clearly classified these chronic pain disorders, and particularly the role of pelvic floor dysfunction and hypersensitivity. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy helps get to the root cause of the problem. You can learn to relax the muscles, desensitize the tissue and manage your painful triggers. You can get a real understanding of the issue, enabling you to work towards a pain free, fully socially and sexually active life again.
Endometriosis and Interstitial cystitis are pain syndromes involving the uterus and bladder respectively. They too are complex problems that don’t have a clear and simple cause or solution. However, they can be related to pelvic floor dysfunction that is missed, masked or misdiagnosed. The proximity of all the pelvic contents means there can be a lot of ‘cross talk’ between nerves. Signals to the brain get confused, and chronic pain can result. This means that if the pelvic floor (which is closely related to all the pelvic organs) is dysfunctional, it can exacerbate pain in the organs themselves. Restoring the pelvic floor normalizes these signals and reduces pain.
Positioning and movement of the organs within the pelvis is also important for them to work happily and pain free. Having your pelvic posture corrected, and easing any tension on the tissues surrounding the organs is also important for relieving pain. Pelvic floor Physiotherapy can be the missing link, offering non-invasive and drug free relief for these pain syndromes.
Pudendal neuralgia is an entrapment of the pudendal nerve. This nerve comes from your buttock and feeds your perineum and external genitalia. It is responsible for sensation in the genitals and contraction of some pelvic floor muscles. When it becomes constricted, severe one sided pain occurs. This is worse when sitting, and is eased by standing or sitting on the toilet seat. Physiotherapy involves relaxing the tight tissues entrapping the nerve, in and around the pelvic floor.
Chronic Pelvic pain is very common in women of all ages. It can manifest in a variety of patterns, often experienced in the SI joints, hips, pubic bone (pubic symphysis dysfunction) and tailbone (coccydynia). Pelvic pain is most likely caused by poor mechanics of your entire pelvis, which needs to work as a unit. The pelvic floor is a vital part of this unit, as it provides support and stability to the whole system. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy addresses pelvic floor dysfunction, and treats this in combination with the pelvic mechanics to help restore normal movement and become pain free.