Seeking treatment for a sexual pain disorder, it is important to have a knowledgeable gynecologist on board. And they can determine whether the issue is something muscular, or if it is a skin or tissue problem, or if it is something else entirely different.
And then another professional I will be important to have on board is a physical therapist. This person would be an internal physical therapist that would address all of the muscle structure problems. Because if there is pain that is occurring, there will likely be muscle tension as a result of protecting the body from pain.
So another health professional it is important to have on board is a sex therapist. A sex therapist has education, training, and background on sexuality issues and where he works them from a psychological perspective. Most likely when the sexual pain disorders, there is underlying anxiety, depression, or relationship issues. And with a sex therapist, you can work with any of those issues that come up around the pain and figure out how to treat the psychological aspect of the pain disorder.
The work with a sex therapist might start with addressing anxieties that a woman feels when it comes to sex or relationships, or her own sexuality. So a woman might have thought that she couldn’t have sex again or she can’t have enjoyable sex again. So we might start to change the way that she thinks about sex and also includes different types of sex or sexuality that she can engage with her partners. So this might be other activities, other than penetrative sex for instance.
Another way that we address these issues is by working with pain management. Pain management might consist of keeping a diary of the times that a woman experiences pain, and starting to keep track of what is going on beforehand, and what is occurring during the pain, and what occurs after the pain. And starting to take a look at what patterns are coming up in regard to the pain.
The work that I do as a sex therapist is helping women start to get a sense of their bodies and being more connected, and more integrated into their minds and their bodies. One way that I do, this is through mindful awareness and guided imagery. This also helps create relaxation around daily life, as well as in sexual intercourse or sexual play.
Overall a lot of these pain disorders are being treated with prescriptions or medications which are helpful; but the psychological impact is important to address too because if not, then there could be unresolved issues going on or a larger psychological impact of the anxiety, depression, relationship issues aren’t addressed. So it is important to have a knowledgeable sex therapist on board with them.
It’s not hard to create a comprehensive treatment plan when you have a knowledgeable team of medical professionals in your corner. You don’t have to be alone with this.