Tantric help for Vulvodynia

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

De-Armoring – to take off or release the armour – is acupressure, e.i. external and internal pressure techniques and massage of yoni.

EXTREME PAIN IN OR AROUND THE GENITALS.

Sexual dysfunction includes painful intercourse, painful contraction (spasm) of the vaginal muscles, and problems with sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm that cause distress.

It’s more than just about the physical pain. Vulvodynia can effect confidence, relationships and

even the ability to get pregnant. Although it’s thought to be a psychological disorder, the impacts are mental and physical. You’re not alone, it’s not your fault and solutions are available.

The experience of pain during sex *affects up to 14% of women* (according to Sexual Health Canada). Sensations can include burning, stinging, rawness or tightness. Some women may even have difficulty inserting a tampon due to the pain.


HERE IS a SIMPLEST EXPLANATION OF THE TERMS:


* *Vulvodynia* – pain around the vulva.**

* *Vestibulitis, vestibulodynia or vulvar vestibulitis* – pain just outside the vagina. **

* *Vaginismus* – tightening of the vagina causing pain.


*What is Vulvodynia?*


The vulva refers to the external female genitals, including the outer and inner labia, the clitoris and the entrance to the vagina, called the vestibule. *There are two types of vulvodynia. If it is localized, vulvar pain usually flares in one area of the vulva on direct contact* such as with intercourse, tampon insertion, a gynecological examination or chafing from a tight pair of jeans; there are usually no symptoms at other times*. In generalized vulvodynia, pain affects the entire vulva*. It can occur spontaneously and may be chronic and persistent, affecting sitting, driving, walking and most physical activities. In both types, the pain can range from intermittent discomfort to bedridden agony.

Vulvodynia can affect women at any age but is most common in young women who have pain during sex and are often unable to have penetrative sex at all (called provoked vestibulodynia).


A number of things however have been known to contribute to the painful experience including fears around sex, or of pain, stress, anxiety, past traumatic events in regard to sexuality. Physical medical conditions like yeast infections, urinary tract infections, endometriosis or others may be a factor also.

Vulvodynia rarely treated quickly, it remains appallingly under-diagnosed. *Many women don’t seek treatment, but those who do, often see physicians with little training in it. *‘The average woman has seen seven doctors before finding one who knows how to treat vulvodynia,’ says Women's College Hospital. Dr. Amanda Selk, a gynecologist, and Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease.

*https://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/programs-and-services/gynecology/gynecology-dermatology-clinic* and one of the foremost vulvodynia experts in North America.

It’s not known for sure how common the condition is, but according to experts interviewed for this story, *it’s estimated that from 330,000 to 2.4 million Can­adian women have vulvodynia.* Researcher Caroline Pukall, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at

Queen’s University, puts the prevalence of localized vulvodynia at 12 percent of women, and generalized vulvodynia at six percent.


Doctors are not sure why it happens, but the nerve pathways that conduct pain signals from the vulva and the parts of the brain that process those signals are physically changed (remodeled) and become more sensitive. As a result, touch that normally would seem mild is perceived

as very painful. Muscles in the pelvis may also be tight, increasing pain. After intercourse, women may have a burning sensation in the genital area or during urination.


Women may benefit from a type of psychological therapy called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy Mindfulness involves focusing on what is happening in the moment. MBCT is usually done in small groups and is combined with information about chronic pain, sexuality, stress, and provoked vestibulodynia.


Tight pelvic muscles*

Some women develop a tight pelvic floor through unconscious tensing, which makes penetration painful. They may keep their pelvic muscles in a squeeze-and-hold pattern for hours (for example, teachers who aren’t free to use the bathroom whenever they need to because they can’t leave the classroom).

pelvic floor physiotherapy, where muscles are stretched, can work wonders. Botox injections, used to paralyze the tight muscles around the vagina, have also been used to treat the

condition.


*‘ Nerve-related problems*

Some women have a higher than normal number of nerve endings in the area of the vulva, which they are either born with or develop after childbirth, injury or infection.


*Promising treatments:* A 2008 study from the An Epidemiological Study of Neuropathic Pain Symptoms in Canadian Adults (https://www.hindawi.com/journals/prm/2016/9815750/abs/)

found that treating vulvodynia as a neuropathic pain disorder in girls age four to 11 brought dramatic improvement. Anti-seizure medication, nerve blocks and tricyclic antidepressants can all dull the pain. When vulvodynia affects the vestibule, surgery can remove the overly

sensitive tissue. Goldstein, who has performed more than 300 such surgeries, says his patient satisfaction rate is over 93 percent


Tantric therapy offers holistic, successful treatments for many painful sex conditions. In sessions you will be safely guided and supported to explore what the underlying causes may be and address those gently. Mindfulness or relaxation techniques can help relax the mind and

the vulva and reduce the experience of pain. Tantric therapy can also provide exercises that help retrain the mind and nervous system to have positive sexual experiences and eliminate the fear of pain during sex.

Massage of Pelvis and Abdomen

This treatment is especially suitable for problems with suppressed pent-up emotions like anger or sorrow, or challenges caused by tension in the abdomen, digestion etc. We focus on the area of the body’s core. Pelvis, abdomen, buttocks, hips, groins and genitals. The area that holds the entire body together. Massaging the stomach area stimulates organs, intestines and digestive area and can soothe back pain.

Acupressure, relaxation, breath work, massage etc. might be part of the session. You might feel very vulnerable while being treated in these areas of the body, which is why we always advance gently and slowly while checking with you along the way if you are feeling okay. We have seen great results with this type of gentle body work, which can be extremely healing and releasing.


De-Armoring Experiences that were frightening, painful and crossed our boundaries make us create an “armour” to protect ourselves. The body remembers – also what our mind might have forgotten. It can lock or freeze our patterns of fear, withdrawal and avoidance and often it causes a feeling of insufficiency –  both sexually and in other areas of life.

De-Armouring – to take off or release the armour – is acupressure, e.i. external and internal pressure techniques and massage of yoni.

There might be several unconscious or unknown traumas in the body, as a kind of muscle tensions, which means that you might experience some soreness during and after treatment (similar to the soreness you might experience after a traditional neck massage or workout).

A De-Armoring session can be a rather overwhelming emotional experience, due to release of old traumas and you might get in contact with negative emotional material that has been hidden/accumulated for many years. All feelings are welcome and will be gently embraced and cared for.


Internal Pelvic Release

(IPR) procedure would be beneficial to the client’s progress in releasing stored and blocked energies. Internal Pelvic Release provides an opportunity to unwind, open and release “energy

knots” (emotional-energetic contractions) which have a corresponding location in the body—often in the pelvis area, specifically the external and internal areas of the vagina and anus.

These locations inside the body will often contain strong emotion associated with past

emotional/sexual trauma. The method of implementing IPR is reflective of Reflexology

Myofascial Release “light touch” alternative healing therapies.*

There should be a thorough discussion and consideration of the IPR procedure and its likely

outcomes, with informed consent reached before proceeding.*


Bringing trauma awareness into intimate relationships is just as important. Slowing down sexual interactions, removing agendas for specific forms of sex, and living a commitment to fostering trust and empowered communication, rather than assuming it, are all vital for establishing safe-enough intimate relationships to support resilience and allow healing. It is commonplace for people to experience retraumatization to genital tissues with every sexual encounter or medical exam, without ever communicating about their pain to partners or health care practitioners. I’m so glad that as somatic sex educators we learn to offer the kind of caring, client-guided, trauma-informed touch that people need to address pelvic pain and be well.


Muscle relaxation training and massage therapy is an important and overlooked treatment method for addressing vulvovdynia. The physiological effects of massage have shown to provide relief for women suffering from vulvodynia. Massage helps to relax and soften injured and overused muscles by causing vasodilation in the skin and muscles that have become used to stimulating and stressful responses of the sympathetic nervous system. Deeper tissue massage causes the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. If pain is diminished, the body is under less stress and the parasympathetic nervous system is more likely to be activated, which helps to support homeostasis. Thus, since massage relaxes the client and reduces sympathetic activity, pain is likely to be less intrusive and disruptive to the individual.




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