Can a naturopath help you overcome painful sex?
Pain during sex or ‘dyspareunia’ is a common occurrence in sexually active women. Sex is often a taboo topic, especially when it isn’t working for you. It is important to know that you are not alone. Nearly 3 out of 4 women will experience pain during sex over their lifetime.
And it can be a serious problem. Researchers have found that experiencing painful sex can lead to poorer sexual, physical, relational and mental health.
Our naturopath Chloe Wilkinson speaks about causes of dyspareunia and how a naturopath can help you overcome painful sex
What does it feel like?
It can be different for every women. Most commonly pain will be felt:
- Around the vulva and vestibule (area around opening of the vagina) – also known as entry pain
- The perineum (the area between your vulva and anus)
- Lower back
- Pelvic region
What is causing the pain?
Chances are the pain is coming from something simple, however there are a few complex reproductive conditions that can cause pain during intercourse. For this reason it is important to eliminate all serious conditions with a qualified practitioner.
Not having enough lubrication causes pain on entry. This is very common in women we see in our clinic. Lack of lubrication can be caused by a large number of things including lack of arousal, hypothyroidism and hormonal imbalances. Finding out the cause of your lowered mucus production if always a good option. In the meantime adding in a natural lubrication is a great option. Our favourites are from yesyesyes.com
Remember the song Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood? He was onto something way back in the 80’s! High stress can impact our ability to let go, relax and get out of our own heads. Stress decreases our desire to have sex, decreasing arousal which in turn increases pain due to lack of lubrication.
Tight pelvic floor
These are our muscles we use to stop ourselves from weeing when we are busting to go to the loo. They become tight when we exercise or even from gripping them throughout the day. A tight pelvic floor may be accompanied by constant pelvic pain or spasms. Exercises that involve core work and sitting down for long periods of time can aggravate this condition. Seeing a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist can help release these muscles by retraining the body to relax them.
Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, most commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and around the pelvic region and bladder. Pain from endometriosis is caused by penetration as it stretches and pulls on the endometrial tissue. This pain if often a sharp stabbing pain felt deep within the abdomen.
Many other reasons
The above conditions are the most common reasons for painful intercourse however other conditions can include:
- emotional and physical trauma
- vaginal infections
- urinary tract infections
- irritable bowel syndrome
- ovarian Cysts
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
What can a Naturopath do?
A Naturopath will work with you to determine what is the underlying cause of your pain. Once you have this information, we may give you herbal medicine to help balance hormones and decrease inflammation. Every person is different and for this reason there is no stock standard treatment. Depending on your circumstances we may use herbs such as Withania, Holy Basil and Siberian Ginseng to help modulate your stress response. We will also work with you to help put in place practices to reduce stress that work for you.
Diet plays a huge role in health and is one of our greatest tools. Increasing your intake of liver loving foods such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, grapefruit, coffee, turmeric and green tea can help your body metabolise and excrete excess hormones which may help provide a better balance.
Increasing your daily intake of vegetables (at least 6 per day) and fruits (at least 3 per day) will also help bring down inflammation.
If you are experiencing painful sex it is important that you see a trusted health professional to determine the cause and action for appropriate treatment.