Being comfortable with your doctor

I have learned just how important it is to be comfortable with your doctor. I think we all want to have a doctor that we are comfortable with, but we often don’t put it high enough on our requirements list. We focus on their knowledge and experience, maybe the convenience of their office location and whether or not they accept our health insurance. While all of those are important considerations, I believe that being able to connect personally with your doctor is just as important. I’m not saying you need to be best friends or go out for coffee after your appointment. What I am saying is your doctor needs to listen to you, and you need to feel heard when you speak to him or her. Your doctor needs to be able to empathize with you and not discount your feelings or jump to a diagnosis without fully exploring your experiences. Your doctor should never make you feel stupid, ashamed, or uncomfortable in any way.

comfortable with your doctor - when sex hurts there is hopeBeing comfortable with your doctor is especially important when dealing with something as personal as sexual pain. I may be worse than most, but I think all of us have some degree of discomfort in discussing intimate topics. We keep them guarded and typically discuss only with those we trust—that is precisely why they are called intimate! Thus you need to feel comfortable to be able to explain all of the details of your pain, including exactly where it hurts and when Continue reading

Child’s pose and happy baby are for adults too

Child's pose - when sex hurts there is hopeDon’t be fooled by the names of these yoga poses—child’s pose and happy baby are great for all ages. I previously shared how beneficial I believe yoga to be for those with pelvic pain (Go with the yoga flow). Now I want to share my two favorite poses for hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction: child’s pose and a modified version of happy baby. Both of these poses were recommended by my physical therapist and incorporated into my home therapy long before I ever attended a yoga class. If you have not yet discovered these poses, I hope that you can incorporate them into your own healing practice as well.

Child’s pose and modified happy baby are my go-to poses for when I have flare ups of pelvic pain and muscle spasms, and I think you’ll see why. Continue reading

Get a second opinion

get a second opinion - when sex hurts there is hopeNavigating the healing process of something as complex as sexual pain can be extremely difficult and often overwhelming. One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to painful sex is how the number one word of advice you will find online is simply to talk to your doctor. On the surface that seems like perfectly good advice, but what happens when your doctor doesn’t know what to do? Or worse, what happens when your doctor tells you there isn’t anything wrong, implying that it is all in your head? My response, get a second opinion—or third or fourth or fifth, as the case may be. Continue reading

Go with the yoga flow

Yoga for pelvic pain- when sex hurts there is hopeI believe that yoga is good for everyone but great for those with hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, a common cause of pelvic pain.

My physical therapist recommended yoga to me many years ago, but it took me a while to finally try it out. Eventually I found a cute little yoga studio near my house and went to their level zero class (yes, I said level zero and I’m not ashamed). I have been practicing at least once a week for over three years and have seen great results. I was never a very flexible person and when I first started I couldn’t even touch my toes. My balance was so bad that I had to lean on a wall to steady myself just to put a sock on, and we won’t even go into how weak my muscles were. Today I can reach beyond my toes to plant my palms firmly on the floor, I can hold tree pose with the best of them, and my friends like to joke about being jealous of my ‘yoga arms’.* Even more amazing, my sciatica pain that used to flare often is now nonexistent. Continue reading

Female anatomy: the basics (external)

external female anatomy - when sex hurts there is hopeIt is my desire that this blog reach those experiencing pelvic and sexual pain who are still searching for hope and healing. An important part of that is sharing information that is useful and understandable. I have learned a lot about myself and my body throughout my journey (though I still have a lot to learn), and sometimes I forget what is not so common knowledge. Thus, I want to stop and explain a few things that you may or may not already be familiar with. Hopefully this will help you gain a better understanding of your own body and also better understand some of my of my other blog posts where I may not take the time to fully explain specific terms. Continue reading

Hypertonic what?

hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction - when sex hurts there is hopeI have mentioned in previous posts that I have something called hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. That is kind of a long and complicated name, so I want to take a moment to explain what it actually means. I ask for some grace from any physical therapists or doctors out there who are reading this as I may not be perfectly accurate in some aspects of my definition. And, I encourage those of you who do not yet have an accurate diagnosis to do some additional research from a more medically based source (and Wikipedia doesn’t count). However, this should provide you with a good introduction based on my personal understanding and experience with hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Continue reading

The pain in painful sex

painful sex - when sex hurts there is hopeBefore I dive too deeply into the various lessons I have learned throughout this journey I want to take a moment to describe some of the pain I have experienced.  We all experience different types and different levels of pain throughout our life, and one individual’s level 10 may be different from another’s.* I can only describe what I have personally experienced and acknowledge that there are many others out there suffering from much worse.  It is very difficult to put into words and describe in a way that you as a reader can understand.  I believe it is not possible to truly understand unless you have experienced it first-hand. Continue reading