It’s Ok To Talk About Your Vagina

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Yesterday’s post came from a pelvic health provider talking about the importance of communication between partners when one of them is experiencing painful sex.  Today we have a guest post from someone who has experienced that firsthand and is brave enough to share her story.

Hats off to you, Kelsey,

Jessica

(Photo note: I snapped this pic b/c I loved that our clinic had the pelvic model on display and right next to the other anatomy models.  We aren’t afraid of our pelvises, ‘round these parts!  Then I re-read the intro of Kelsey’s post and laughed out loud at the serendipity…I promise…the pic was not staged J)

It’s Okay to Talk about Your Vagina

If I went to physical therapy for my knee or my shoulder, for a sports injury or a slip on the ice, it would be easy to talk about my therapy. It would be easy to talk about my pain. But because my physical therapist puts her finger in my vagina, I can’t talk about it. Because my pain revolves around my “private” parts, it’s supposed to be private. It’s weird. It’s uncomfortable. People don’t understand it. People don’t know about it. So I’m forced to hide the pain. To endure it behind closed doors. To stay silent. No longer.

My name is Kelsey, and I have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.

When my gynecologist suggested physical therapy for my frequent (to constant) urinary tract and yeast infections, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction, I didn’t believe in it. In the same way one may not believe in a psychic or a chiropractor or a magician. But I was so sick of the constant pain, discomfort, inconvenience of going to the doctor every week for a urine sample, and cost of antibiotics and Monistat, that I was willing to try anything. Especially if it meant I wouldn’t have to take medication for the rest of my life.

So I started seeing Caryn in October of 2012—sometimes weekly, sometimes twice a week. Therapy is a lot of work. I get up early every morning to do my stretches and dilator work, I make the 40 minute drive to and from therapy every week, and I have to concentrate all day, every day, to make sure that I’m keeping my muscles relaxed. I’m still working with Caryn and my gynecologist to put an end to the monthly yeast infections. They’re only thing holding me back now.

But I have made so much progress in the last 7 months. Hopefully soon I’ll be down to once-a-month therapy sessions. I haven’t had a UTI for months, my back and hips aren’t sore as I sit at my desk all day, I no longer have to get up several times a night to use the bathroom, and I can go out for cocktails with my girl friends without having to worry about my bladder being sore when I get home. Best of all, I am able to show my love physically with my boyfriend again with little to no pain.

My pain hasn’t just been physical. My PFD has taken a mental and emotional toll on me as well. There have been times I didn’t think I would ever be better—that I’d ever be normal again. I was supposed to be keeping my body relaxed and my stress level down, yet my PFD was causing me more stress. I often felt helpless, hopeless, every time I got an infection or every time I would try to have sex and have to stop because I was in too much pain.

My sexual dysfunction made me feel like a bad girlfriend, and created a distance between my boyfriend and me. As much as he tried to reassure me and be supportive, there were so many times that I cried myself to sleep thinking I would never be able to share the intimacy with the one I loved that only intercourse could bring. We’ve had to talk about my vagina more than any man really wants to. He’s had to apply Lidocaine to my perineum before sex to numb it. And he’s felt guilty for putting me through so much pain. He’s been extremely patient and loving, but I still have this underlying irrational fear that my sexual dysfunction is going to somehow bring an end to our relationship.

We’re able to have sex every week now, sometimes twice a week. But we got so accustomed to weeks without sex that we now have to remind ourselves that it’s okay. Although my PFD has created distance between us, it has also made our relationship stronger. We’ve had to become extremely comfortable talking about sex and our bodies, and we’ve had to provide emotional support to each other throughout this process.

My work isn’t done. I will have to continue my stretches and relaxation for a long time—maybe even forever. My boyfriend and I are re-learning how to be intimate, and I’m still working to convince myself that I will get better and that I am still worth loving even though I can’t always show my love physically.

Marathon Physical Therapy has given me hope—that through natural therapy techniques, my pelvic health can be restored. Caryn has offered me physical therapy, but she has also offered me emotional therapy, and I have truly come to see her as a friend. Just a friend who puts her finger in my vagina.

-Kelsey, age 25

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2 thoughts on “It’s Ok To Talk About Your Vagina

  1. Brave post Kelsey! This work is life changing isn’t it! As someone who has been blessed with the help of the amazing women at Marathon’s I can attest to how much better life can be when you don’t have to hide or make excuses or miss out on ALL the pleasures of life. Pelvic pain is NOT normal and we don’t have to put up with it.

  2. Thanks for finally writing about >Its Ok To Talk About Your Vagina
    | Share MayFlowers Blog <Liked it!

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