The yoni is capable of experiencing the greatest pleasure and at the same time it can be the centre of discomfort or even overwhelming pain. There are far too many women dealing with chronic pelvic pain, a lot of which translates to sexual pain. Nearly 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. 83% of women have sexual pain in the first three months after having a baby (vaginal or c-section), this drops to 60% of women by nine months postpartum. These numbers are exorbitantly high! For some women, the pain is only a temporary problem; for others, it can last a lifetime. Even though it’s such a common issue this subject is still a hidden. Women are not talking about it and when they are they are very rarely being referred to the professionals that can actually help.
Recently I even read a suggestion in a popular postpartum book (written by a woman) that the new mother should simply take painkillers before having sex! This is shocking advice to say the least! Not only are you being encouraged to ignore the reason behind the pain (which can always be resolved), but this approach to sex is likely to anchor the pain pattern even deeper in your nervous system as you cringe and brace yourself against the experience each time. This is not OK! The long term impact on a woman’s emotional health as well as her relationship to her partner could be detrimental to say the least.
This article is very long as I have attempted to highlight every kind of pelvic pain. In short if you are suffering, the professionals that can help you are either Integrative or Functional Medicine Doctors that specialize in women’s natural healthcare, or for structural issues a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist have a skill set that can quickly and efficiently change your pain story. This form of physiotherapy has evolved in recent decades and these practitioners are saving women from unnecessary suffering. A big problem that women face is the fact that GP’s, gynaecologists and other health care professionals rarely refer women to these angels. When it comes to pain caused by past trauma, even emotional trauma it could be incredibly helpful to see a Somatic Psychologist or some form of somatic therapist that can help you to release the trauma from your physical and emotional body.
TYPES OF PAIN
Dyspareunia is the name for recurring pain during intercourse. It can occur in the genital area or within the pelvis. The pain can occur before, during, or after sexual intercourse. For some females, the pain comes and goes, but for others, it can be constant. Make sure you are using your panty vibrator correctly to avoid getting hurt.
Vestibulodynia is the term used to describe pain and discomfort from touch anywhere around the entrance to the vagina. Any kind of touch or pressure, even from a tampon, cotton swab, tight pants, or toilet tissue can trigger discomfort. If the pain lasts longer than three months this condition is then called vulvodynia or vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) or vulvar vestibulitis. Vestibulodynia and vulvodynia are specifically linked to a hypersensitivity of the nerve endings in the skin of the mons pubis, the labia majora and minora, the clitoris, or the perineum. It can even be aggravated from sitting too long. Around 16 percent of women are estimated to have experienced pain or stinging in the vulval area at some time in their life.
Clitorodynia refers to pain in the clitoris. Typical symptoms are a sharp, stabbing pain or a rawness of the clitoris that can be exacerbated by touch, walking, wearing tight underwear or moving at certain angles.
Cervicitis is an inflammation and irritation of the cervix. In some cases, cervicitis may be due to trauma, frequent douching or exposure to chemical irritants in other cases it could be from an STD. Cervicitis often causes no symptoms at all, but some women will experience pain during intercourse, vaginal itching, a bloody vaginal discharge, or vaginal spotting or bleeding between periods (usually after intercourse). If it is a bacterial infection cervicitis can spread to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, which is a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Vaginismus this condition occurs when pelvic floor muscles at the entrance to your vagina painfully and involuntarily tighten, which causes pain when penetration is attempted. It can be caused by emotional and physical conditions. If there is a chance you could be suffering from this condition please begin with a small yoni egg and do all the exercises without any pelvic floor isolations. Focus on the breath and the movements and creating a gentle nourishing relationship with your vagina.
The vagina has it’s own amazing microcosm known as the microbiome. Even though this city of friendly bacteria is linked to your gut bacteria it does have it’s own unique constitution to keep the vagina in a happy healthy state. Anything that interferes with the vaginal bacteria can lead to uncomfortable or painful experiences, these include the invasion of a pathogenic bacteria such as thrush, or the presence of chemical products that aggravate the delicate tissue and kill off the essential beneficial bacteria.
Yeast Infections can easily aggravate the skin resulting in pain during intercourse. Thrush stems from a pathogenic infection in the gut such as overactive candida, SIBO, or other nasties that needs to be nuked. While doing a gut bacteria detox (available on my website) you can simultaneously use natural vaginal peccaries containing tea tree oil to kill off the thrush. Once it is gone you can switch to a vaginal peccary with special vaginal probiotics to re-inoculate your microbiome. Switching to an organic low carbohydrate eating style (not ketogenic this is far too low and can harm women’s hormones), that includes fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, will help to prevent a reoccurrence of yeast infections and other related issues. Apart from sugars and refined carbohydrates, the contraceptive pill and antibiotics are the other big culprits in disrupting gut bacteria and activating yeast infections.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can easily result in various skin aggravations that can cause pain during intercourse. These need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent any long term damage.
Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection that can have symptoms such as discharge and itching around the vulva or vagina may develop, but it can be symptomless. If left untreated bacterial vaginosis may affect fertility by causing pelvic inflammatory disease.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when vaginal infections spread to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Often there are no signs of symptoms that you have PID. Common signs that do occur include pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis, heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odour, abnormal uterine bleeding especially during or after intercourse or between menstrual cycles, pain or bleeding during intercourse, or painful or difficult urination. When severe, PID might cause fever, chills or severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain. Left untreated this condition can create permanent damage to your reproductive organs.
Inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as eczema and psoriasis on the vulva can be uncomfortable or painful during intercourse. A common skin irritation can be from cosmetic chemical exposure or from lichen sclerosus.
Chemical Aggravation can be caused by personal hygeine products such as douches, spermicide, synthetic sanitary towels, soap, chemical detergent, synthetic fabric underwear, or non-organic laundry liquid on your panties, are not only aggravating enough to trigger dermatitis or pain in skin of your vulva or vagina, but they are also incredibly toxic for your hormones. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database Skin Deep gives you the lowdown on all these products. Start clearing your bathroom cabinets and kitchen cupboards of anything that is not 100% natural and preferably organic. When it comes to your moontime you can easily switch to organic tampons, organic sanitary pads, cloth pads, mooncups and natural sea sponges. As for cleaning your vagina you first need to understand the vagina is self-cleaning, any form of soap is harmful even on the vulva, the only thing you ever need to use is water. If you are concerned about a strange smell from your vaginal fluids you may have a bacterial infection that needs taking care of.
Lichen Sclerosus is a fairly common issue among women that causes symptoms such as intense vulvar itching, pain with urination (especially when fissures occur) and pain with intercourse. Generally, small white spots appear on the skin with a shiny or smooth texture. These can grow into larger patches and the skin will become thin and crinkled and may bruise or tear easily. Other symptoms include itching, pain, bleeding and blisters. The main reason for onset appears to be hormonal. Find a good integrative medicine GP that specializes in natural hormone balancing. There is also a known association between the lichen sclerosus and the contraceptive pills. Vitex (Chasteberry or Agus Castus) is one herb that has been used historically to balance hormones in cycling women. Many women have reported improvement in their symptoms with the avoidance of high inflammatory foods such as processed foods, wheat, dairy, sugar and soya. The nutrients that can be helpful for this condition include selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D3.
There are many structural reasons why a woman can experience pelvic pain and some of these reasons may be from issues outside of the pelvis.
Nerve Damage or irritation of the nerves or muscle spasms around the pelvis can easily result in pain. There are many different reasons for this kind of issue, from caesarean sections to back injuries. Even if the nerves are damaged there are physiotherapists that specialize in desensitizing the pain loop, and once the tissue is healed they can help balance the nervous system to diffuse the pain (look for a PT’s who specializes in central sensitization or has studied Lorimar Mosley’s system).
Pelvic Floor Imbalance can be a result of lower back issues, knee problems, hip problems and even digestive problems, as well as birth, sitting all day, over-exercise, incorrect exercise and even wearing high heals. They can create a strain on the pelvic floor area and sometimes result in some form of pelvic pain. Osteopaths are usually the best professionals to help resolve these issues. Even if it’s an old injury they can help change the painful holding pattern. It’s a game changer!
Uterus or Bladder Prolapse means the organ has moved out of position. There are various stages of prolapse and the sooner it’s addressed the easier it is to reverse or stabalize. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition such as unhealed birth trauma, lack of exercise, incorrect exercise, constant stress, unhealthy breathing patterns, repetitive heavy lifting, lower back issues, hip issues, etc. A pelvic floor physiotherapist is certainly your person when it comes to prolapse. They can help you avoid surgery and stabilize your organs.
Bartholin’s Cyst’s or Absesses can occur in the pea-sized Bartholin’s glands situated either side of the vulva. The duct leading from a gland to the vulva may become blocked, causing a fluid-filled cyst. Cysts in the Bartholin glands usually respond well to Epsom salt baths and lugol’s iodine directly painted on with a layer of vitamin E oil on top. If the cyst becomes infected it could turn into an absess, which are often painful and requires prompt treatment. According to Dr Aviva Romm infections or abscesses in the vulvovaginal glands respond well to frequent (8-12 times daily) large doses (2-3 dropperfuls) of echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) root tincture, plus goldenseal tincture or another berberine-rich plant, which are useful for all vaginal infections.
Hemorrhoids also known as piles, are swollen veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum. When the walls of these vessels are stretched, they become irritated. They may become painful which can interfere with the ability to get aroused sexually, or they may be aggravated to the point of pain from sexual intercourse.
Scar Tissue from birth, surgery or injury is unfortunately one of the most common causes of pelvic and sexual pain. The good news is you can release the pain pattern and help to re-establish blood flow to the tissue. The first thing you or your partner can do is to gentle use your finger and initially just touch the area. Place your finger on the scar tissue and put pressure on only to the first sign of pain. This usually brings up the emotions that were unable to release at the time of the trauma. Give them space and let them flow. Stop when you have had enough.
Even the lightest touch is painful for some women, simply hold that point steady and begin focusing on easing up the breath and the tension in the body. The pain is putting the body into a danger alert state, it’s your job to tell your brain that you are now safe, there is no harm occurring in your vagina. This is called ‘desmudging’ or ‘remapping’. You are rewiring the nervous system away from the danger state into the safe state. This rewiring will eventually hold. Each day do this process for as long as you can until there is no pain from simple pressure. Then do it again with massage. Again only going to the point of the first sign of pain. Continue to massage every day for a month even if there is no pain, your aim now is to help the tissue release as much as possible and increase the blood and lymph flow to the best state it can.
If the scar tissue is quite deep in the vagina there is a wonderful tool called a yoni wand that can be used to reach difficult areas.
Abnormal Cervical Cells can cause discomfort during intercourse. HPV infections and precancerous cells on the cervix are not uncommon. According to the cervical cancer researcher Diane Harper, “There are many types of HPV, and many do not cause problems. HPV infections usually clear up without any intervention within a few months after acquisition, and about 90% clear within two years. It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems, or 5 to 10 years in women with weakened immune systems, such as those with untreated HIV infection.” If you have a pap smear annually, this gives you plenty of time to clear any abnormal cells found.
Many integrative medicine practitioners are using ozone directly on the cervix, and there is research that reishi mushroom or turmeric used internally are around 80% successful at clearing abnormal cervical cells.
Ovarian cysts can cause pelvic pain but polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) cannot. In PCOS the ‘cysts’ are actually immature follicles, there are no actual growths of any sort present. If you have pelvic pain and are diagnosed with PCOS there will be another reason for the pain that needs to be addressed.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory endocrine condition that is diagnosed when endometrial tissue is found in areas of the body where it shouldn’t normally exist. Endometriosis can be found within the uterine wall, in the fallopian tubes or in other parts of the body such as the digestive organs, and even the lungs or brain. It is often found in female infants, showing the endocrine disruption already occurred inutero.
Vaginal dryness caused from poor vaginal lubrication is a common cause of painful sex. Lack of vaginal lubrication can easily be triggered by dehydration or stressful emotions, but it is classically linked to insufficient levels of estrogen. Women of any age can suffer from low estrogen, it is normal during postpartum months until a mothers cycle returns, during menopause and with conventional breast cancer treatment. However vaginal dryness can be a result of more serious conditions, such as the autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome. Not only does a lack of estrogen or a more complex hormone imbalance reduce vaginal lubrication, but it usually has a lot to do with low libido. If you do have a good libido then firstly use coconut oil or a natural lubricant during love making, while you address the core issue. Natural progesterone cream can also be used internally as it helps the body to produce needed estrogen, it’s a natural antiiflammatory and it helps to heal vaginal tissue. Your Integrative Medicine Doctor can prescribe natural progesterone.
Medication and the Contraceptive Pill – Some medications, such as oral birth control, beta-blockers, chemotherapy, aromatase inhibitors and antidepressants can leave you with vaginal dryness. Birth control pills cause elevated levels of sex hormone binding globulin, which can bind free testosterone and cause vaginal atrophy in young women (as well as low libido). This problem may persist even after discontinuation of the Pill. An Integrative Medicine doctor who specializes in natural hormone balancing is the person to help you heal Post Pill Syndrome.
EMOTIONAL SOMATIC PAIN
Even the smallest emotional discord around our sexuality or womanhood can result in pelvic pain. It’s not in your head it’s in your body.
Stress, Anxiety or Depression – According to Harvard University and many pelvic floor physiotherapists the stress hormones created from stress, anxiety or depression can have a negative physical impact on our pelvic floor and vaginal tissue, even resulting in painful sex. There are two factors at play here, one, stress can trigger pelvic floor tension, which as we have covered above can result in pelvic pain. The other aspect is consistently high cortisol levels can directly affect the state of our connective tissue, causing inflammation as well as loss of tone. Since this is an emotional issue that has resulted in physical pain the best route to healing this story is somatically. The yoni egg may well be the perfect tool for you. If you haven’t found any improvement after three months I would suggest finding a somatic psychologist or movement therapist that specializes in helping women heal.
PTSD, Sexual Trauma or Emotional Trauma – The body holds memory even when our minds don’t. Most of us have had some form of a compromising experience around our sexuality at some stage in our lives. It doesn’t matter how subtle the dynamic, even the smallest uncomfortable emotional experience that is unhealed can still have a strong enough impact to either desensitize or trigger pain in parts of our vulva or vagina. I would suggest finding an osteopath, pelvic floor physiotherapist, somatic psychologist or movement therapist that specializes in helping women heal.
CHOOSING YOUR PRACTITIONER
When it comes to practitioners I have experienced the best and the worst. In my personal experience it seems to be that reputation can often be more of an indicator than a professionals list of impressive qualifications. What I will say is this, healing only happens when you feel safe! It doesn’t matter how impressive a practitioner is or how charming they are, if at any point your body starts to send you signals of stress, you may well be in the wrong place. Remember you always have the option of leaving! I find phrases like the following very useful, “I’m sorry but I feel I might have come to the wrong place, I am going to have to leave now. Thank you very much for your time.” There is never a need for prying, provoking or any form of pushing no matter what wrapping it is presented in. Your body will always tell you when you are sitting in front of someone with true integrity. Their whole purpose is to gracefully discover how they can help you to heal.
On a personal note I used my Womb Way Yoni Egg Practice to help heal my postpartum sexual pain. I spent the last three years putting The Womb Way Yoni Egg Practice together with a protocol that ensures you are using the egg correctly to prevent one from aggravating issues further with incorrect use. When it comes to pelvic floor imbalances many women, more than you may think, are suffering from overactive or tight pelvic floor muscles, therefore the last thing one needs to be doing in this case is using the yoni egg in a way that focuses on tightening the muscles further. Sign up for the newsletter if you would like to know more about upcoming training. The Womb Way Practice is focused on connecting with your body in a respectful, gentle manor that invites your innate feminine to flourish.
For ladies interested in exploring the use of wands in pelvic pain (you can purchase them in the link for yoni eggs) then please watch this video: