It hurts down there. You have pain when touched. You have pain with a tampon. You have pain from clothing. And your pain is hyper-localized around the inner lips of the vulva. You have vestibulodynia.
Vestibulodynia is extremely localized to the inner lips of the vulva, which is why it is considered a localized version of the chronic pain syndrome vulvodynia. But vestibulodynia is no less taxing, and no less complex. You have trouble sitting. You have trouble standing. You can't wear the clothes you want. And you feel like you're all alone. All you want is the pain to stop.
The good news is, you can live a pain free life. You can beat vestibulodynia. Treatment is available right here in Oklahoma City.
Treatment for Vestibulodynia
Vestibulodynia inhibits you from living the life you want, the life you deserve. It robs you of time with friends and family, and it hinders intimacy. You're not out for a quick fix, becuase you know it won't last. You want a long term solution. You want treatment for vestibulodynia. You want to find your pelvic floor physical therapist.
Fortunately, the pelvic floor physical therapists at FYZICAL Oklahoma City are skilled at treating vestibulodynia. They understand your condition and can help you get back to doing the things you love to do.
Vestibulodynia should not be treated with Kegels (or "pelvic floor muscle contractions"). Unlike with pelvic floor physical therapy for incontinence, treatment of chronic pelvic pain syndromes (including vestibulodynia) with Kegels is going to make your pain worse.
Your pelvic floor physical therapist will focus on helping you reduce your heightened state of pelvic floor contraction. Healthy muscles are both strong and flexible, but vestibulodynia is a sign that your pelvic floor isn't as healthy as it should be.
Your pelvic floor physical therapist is going to work on four main areas to get you back to loving your life:
When treating vestibulodynia, beathing is a key relaxation technique. Whether it's me or one of my Pelvic Floor PTs at FYZICAL Oklahoma City, when we treat vestibulodynia, breathing is going to be the first tool you learn to master your pain. Brething properly, means that your diaphragm, core, and pelvic floor muscles are working together. Not fighting each other.
When you can properly breath, you can release your tension and stress, allowing you to more release the tension in your pelvic floor muscles causing your vestibulodynia.
Sometimes a common problem just needs a common solution. Pelvic floor dysfunction is common. But vestibulodynia is not something you just have to live with.
Stretching is one of the common solutions. But you want to know which muscles to stretch. Each woman treated for vestibulodynia is similar, but not the same. Your uniqueness means that we need to evaluate which muscles (hips, low back, abs, legs) you have the most issue with. Stretching your muscles safely, will help you releave some of the pressure on your pelvic floor. You will be able to release more of the tension and tightness causing your vestibulodynia.
Manual Muscle Manipulations
All physical therapists understand pain. But pelvic floor physical therapists have to understand it at another level. There is a lot of emotion that goes into vulvar pain, like vestibulodynia. You have to know that we want you to have the treatment you need to stop your pelvic pain, to be rid of vestibulodynia for good. That means that treatment has to get intimate.
Manual muscle manipulation ("manual therapy") is one of the most effective tools I can give you during your pelvic floor physical therapy for vestibulodynia. Manual muscle manipulations allow your physical therapist to manually release tightened muscles. With the vaginal muscles, trigger point release can be achieved with a finger (“digital”), pelvic dilators (like our friends over at VUVA Tech make), or a Therawand.
Whether done by a pelvic floor PT, done by you, or done by a partner, manual muscle manipulations need to be done where you can be comfortable. There will be some pain, but a little pain or pressure now will go a long way to reducing your pain well into the future.
With vestibulodynia, anything touching your vulva can be really painful. Your goal from with pelvic floor physical therapy is to reduce that pain. In combination with, or separate from, manual therapy, biofeedback is a really helpful tool for treating your vestibulodynia.
Biofeedback allows me to show you how you respond to pain and how with coordinated breathing and manual therapy, we can work together to reduce your pain. Biofeedback uses real time electrical signals from your muscles to show you a visual representation of how your muscles contract and relax. And by seeing that feedback, you will get better at relaxing your muscles.
I value my relationship with your physician with all pelvic pain syndromes, but with vestibulodynia and vulvodynia, it is vital. Whether you are working with your OB/Gyn alone or you have added a Urogynecologist to your treatment team, I want to be well connected and make sure that we have a good working relationship. (If you don't have a Urogynecologist, we can make a referral to one right here in Oklahoma City).
In particular, medication is a key component of vestibulodynia treatment. Your physician is the medication expert, and she will prescribe the right medication to help you get the most from pelvic floor physical therapy treatment.
If you have questions, please call. We are always happy to help other women, we are here to help you “Love Your Life!”
-Lauren C. Peterson, PT, DPT
Clinical Director, FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of Oklahoma City
FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of Oklahoma City provides pelvic floor physical therapy in Lakeside, The Village, Nichols Hills and surrounding NW Oklahoma City. Our pelvic floor physical therapists are specially trained to treat all types of pelvic floor dysfunction including pelvic pain and vulvodynia. Our practitioners take a patient-centered individualized approach that focuses on your pelvic health needs. If you are unsure about your pelvic health, or you want to see the FYZICAL Difference for yourself, schedule a free consultation today.