Wish you were here…

restful state of mind - when sex hurts there is hope

I had the amazing blessing of taking a week vacation earlier this month.  I was definitely overdo for taking a break to really disconnect from work and all my other “doing.”  Although I still have a long way to go towards gratitude and that state of being rather than doing, I feel like I truly was able to soak in a restful state of mind and just be.  And, I have to say that I really do wish you were here. Continue reading

Traveling with pelvic pain

traveling with pelvic pain - when sex hurts there is hope

Sitting in an airport waiting for my flight home, I got to thinking about how differently I travel these days.  Traveling with pelvic pain can be difficult which leads some pelvic pain sufferers choosing not to travel at all.  I am certainly more selective about my travel plans and have learned some ways to help reduce the pain that typically comes with traveling.

1. Pack the essentials

Travel light, or be prepared to ask for help.  Continue reading

Waiting in the wilderness

I am an impatient person and not a fan of waiting, no matter what the context.  I have learned to combat this impatience with everyday waiting through multitasking.  Stuck in traffic?…catch up on the latest podcast.  Stuck in line?…catch up on email.  (Honestly, some days I wonder what I ever did before I had an iPhone.)  But what do I do when the
waiting goes way beyond the waiting in the wilderness - when sex hurts there is hopeeveryday nuances of traffic and long lines?  My iPhone is no
match for the inevitable seasons in life when I find myself waiting in the wilderness.  Multitasking can’t combat the frustration of not knowing when difficulties will ever end.  Instead, I think the constant shifting of focus from one distraction to the next is often what prolongs these periods of wilderness waiting. Continue reading

Did you know that birth control pills can cause pelvic pain?

Most women have no idea that taking birth control pills can cause pelvic pain and painful sex.  There has been some controversy on the subject, but I am not here to argue a point. Instead, I want to share about my own experience.  I know for a fact that oral contraceptives were one of the primary causes for my pain.

There is a detailed article by Dr. Andrew Goldstein on the IPPS blog which I will be referring to throughout this post.  (The Dr. Oz blog also provides a good summary of the same article if you’re interested in checking it out.)  What prompted this article last year was a genetic study that Dr. Goldstein and others completed which identified why some women are more susceptible to the damaging effects of birth control pills.

How birth control pills can cause pelvic pain:

Oral contraceptives signal your body (specifically your pituitary gland) to stop producing normal levels of specific hormones which support ovulation.  This reduction also signals your body to reduce other hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, which are important for your sexual health.  “But don’t birth control pills contain estrogen and progesterone?” you may be thinking.  That’s true, but they are synthetic versions which means they don’t match your body’s natural hormones perfectly.

Compounding this lack of natural estrogen, progesterone, and other important hormones called androgens is the increase in Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, or SHBG.  When the synthetic hormones in birth control pills are processed through your body (your liver, specifically), they cause an increase in your body’s production of SHBG.  This is bad because SHBG attaches itself to sex hormones and makes those hormones inactive.  Thus, even if you had sufficient amounts of sex hormones in your body, they are no longer working to keep you sexually healthy.

Birth control pills affected my own sexual health in a couple of ways.  The first and most obvious way was by reducing my libido.  I had a lot of other factors going on that made me not very interested in sex (namely the fact that it was painful).  But, at a biological level I didn’t have a healthy amount of hormones to set any desire in motion.  The second way was less obvious to me at the time, but had the most significant impact.  The reduction in fully functioning hormones left my vestibule red, atrophied, and painful to the touch.  Think about what happens to a flower petal that is no longer connected to its life-giving source of water—it wilts and shrinks, the soft surface becomes dry and fragile, andbirth control pills can cause pelvic pain - when sex hurts there is hope the vibrant color begins to fade.  Similarly, the very part of me that was created for sexual pleasure was causing me great pain because it didn’t have the life-giving source of hormones it required to be healthy.  I didn’t recognize these symptoms at the time, and neither did my doctors.  It wasn’t until I saw a sexual health specialist that I learned about the importance of hormones and just how big an impact taking birth control pills had made on my sexual health. Continue reading

Transformation

transformation - when sex hurts there is hopeTransformation—that is a powerful word.  It’s an exciting word, full of discovery and opportunity.  When I first felt God giving me that as my theme word for this year, I was focused on all the positive connotations.  I desire transformation, or at least what is on the other side of it.  You see, when I first heard that word I was thinking about the results of transformation, not the process of transformation.   The first inkling that there might be something other than pure positive in the idea of transformation came when I shared with my sister about my word for the year.  Without hesitation her response to me was, “that sounds scary.”  I hadn’t thought about it until then, but yes, transformation does sound a little scary.  And now that I have walked through some of the process I will tell you that it’s a lot more than scary—it is uncomfortable and downright difficult. Continue reading

How hope began in the darkness

how hope began - when sex hurts there is hopeI think it is time for me to share the story of how this blog came to be.  It’s strange, I was thinking that it felt like the right time to finally share this and I didn’t even realize what month it is until I sat down to write.  This month marks two years since the start of this blog and three years since God put the vision in my heart to create it.  Here’s my story of how hope began in the darkness.

I think I’ve mentioned before about how 2013 was a really tough year for me.  March is when the worst of it began—the beginning of the end of my marriage—and April 1st was my absolute worst day.  I had been given some pretty devastating news the night before and my heart was still reeling from the reality of it all.  I remember that I had to go to work that day due to a number of responsibilities I couldn’t postpone.  I cried as I got ready and I cried as I drove to work, but somehow I managed to hold it together to get through the day.  The next morning I was getting ready for work again and an idea came into my mind about starting a website.  It would be something that could be a resource for others like me—something that could have allowed me to find help sooner. Continue reading

This is who I am

I started this blog anonymously two years ago and have been very careful to avoid sharing personal information about who I am.  I set up separate email and social media accounts.  I didn’t create an “About Me” page or share any photos of myself.  I could say it was due paranoia about the internet, but really it was because I wasn’t ready to be honest with the world.  In truth I have been living two lives; hiding my pain issue from most people who know me.  I put as much effort into trying to appear normal as I do in actually preventing my pelvic pain.

But sharing on this blog has helped me heal—not so much in the physical sense, but rather healing from the psychological and emotional damage that painful sex has caused me.  Slowly I’ve started sharing my pain story with more friends.  It was difficult at first, awkward and uncomfortable, but it got easier with each new person I told.  No one I shared with ever reacted negatively.  In fact, my being so open with them seemed to deepen our relationship.  Often as I shared something so intimate with them, they would open up to me about something personal they had faced (sometimes even a similar pain issue).  And it was great to have them “in the know” about my pain.  I didn’t have to hide it or feel self-conscious about needing to stand or bringing my seat cushion.  Over time I found it sort of liberating to share this other part of me.  I started feeling like I was becoming more of who I am. Continue reading