If you are still searching for a correct diagnosis, or waiting for treatments to work their healing effects, I want to encourage you to keep searching and keep working. I know how discouraging it is to go from doctor to doctor trying to find out what is causing painful sex. I went three years, through six different doctors and multiple tests and treatments before finally getting a correct diagnosis of hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Then, after two years of physical therapy I went through a couple more doctors to address the pain issues stemming from unbalanced hormones. During that first searching process I actually did give up at one point. But, the pain kept coming so I had to keep going.
It takes courage to not give up when doctor after doctor tells you they don’t know what is wrong. Draw that courage from wherever you can. Maybe it is from the countless others who have dealt with and overcome similar pain issues.* Or perhaps by connecting with those who have overcome other types of obstacles. Maybe you can draw courage from your spouse and the hope of what can be on the other side of healing. For me, I was able to draw courage from my faith. Knowing that God was with me helped give me courage to keep trying.
It also takes strength to not give up when you are going to multiple physical therapy treatments, not yet seeing results, and dealing with the pain while still trying to keep up with the demands of everyday life. When I first started physical therapy I was going once a week. With the hour drive to the therapy office (on top of my regular work commute), hour long appointment, plus time in the waiting room, it took a lot out of my day. With a flare of symptoms following each session, plus the hour or more each night doing my own stretching and self-treatment, and at least an additional hour on the weekends for more self-treatment, it was difficult to keep up. The support of friends and family is important to help give you the strength you need. Recognizing the small steps forward is also important. It was a big step for me when I started taking Lyrica to calm my nervous system and reduce the flare ups from the physical therapy work. That gave me a tangible sign that we were on the right track and gave me hope for healing. Those small successes can give you the momentum you need to keep up the work.
Unfortunately the one thing you can count on with most sexual pain disorders is that the road to healing is long. Even if you are lucky enough to find an accurate diagnosis right away, and even so blessed to have a pain issue that is treatable with a quick solution, it will still take time to undo the psychological effects of painful sex. The good news is that healing is possible—so don’t give up!
*Check out my Twitter feed (look on the right side-bar menu on the home page)! I follow physical therapists and other patients who share about their experiences in dealing with painful sex and other pelvic disorders.