These are names for painful syndromes that cause the muscles around the vagina and pelvis to become painful and to spasm. Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva, the tissue on the outside of the female genitals. Vulvar vestibulitis is a subtype of vulvodynia, in which pain is experienced only when pressure is applied to the vulvar tussue, usually at the vaginal opening.
Vaginismus is involuntary spasm of the muscles around the vagina which makes vaginal penetration difficult, painful, or impossible.
The nerves, muscles, joints, and organs of the pelvic area are closely connected. Some causes of vulvar and vaginal pain include:
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Spasms: as a result of painful conditions of the pelvis such as endometriosis, injury to the hip or tailbone, chronic low back pain, or pelvic surgery.
- Scar tissue: from an episiotomy or tear, which affects the elasticity of the vaginal opening.
- Hypersensitivity of the nerves of the vulva.
- Yeast infections, urinary tract infections, skin disorders.
Start by discussing your problem with your physician. Ask for a referral to physical therapy. Physical therapy services are reimbursed by most insurance companies. If you have questions about whether Alpine’s services will be covered, contact your insurance company.
Painful conditions can develop many layers over time. Our Women’s Health team will begin by listening to your history and determining the specific cause of your pain. You can expect private, individualized treatment sessions. Hilary and Diana specialize in the treatment of vulvar and vaginal pain, and will be sensitive to your special needs.
Your treatment options will be explained to you. You will receive extensive education on the causes of your pain and how you can help yourself at home. Therapy sessions for vulvar and vaginal pain may include:
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening.
- Myofascial release and massage for overworked muscles.
- Physical therapy treatments to lessen pain.
- Exercise program customized to suit your needs and abilities.
- Hands on therapy and exercise to restore movement in restricted joints.
- Biofeedback therapy.