When I go to the physical therapist we do several things. So far my problem has been diagnosed as vaginismus, although who knows what the heck that means? What we are trying to tackle at the physical therapist is the tightness of my pelvic floor muscles. The tightness is caused by two things: 1- a physical problem (vaginismus? maybe.) and 2- it's also a mental thing. When something try's to go in down there, I can't help but clench. I've been training my body to do it for several years now. I'll take you through an appointment:
First I undress from the waist down and I lay on a giant heating pad for about 10-15 minutes. The heat is supposed to help relax the muscles and I do believe that it does help.
Then the physical therapist comes in and uses an ultrasound machine with a small probe that she puts in my vagina and pushes it around the muscles - they call these muscles the pelvic clock. She goes around the clock holding the ultrasound probe onto the muscles until they relax.
Sometimes she will follow that up with her own finger so that she can feel what the muscles are doing. (See what I mean about other people being down there more than my husband?) Then I have a lot of homework:1) Every day I'm supposed to use dilators to do the work that the ultrasound machine does. Dilators are basically different-sized dildos. I use the small one to push on the muscles around the pelvic clock and then I use a larger one for the "prolonged stretch", which is basically just sitting there for 10 minutes with a large dilator in my vagina. This is supposed to help stretch the muscles.
2) I also have to do kegel exercises, but they aren't just your regular kegels. I have to do "quick flicks" and "long holds". Quick flicks are hold for 3 seconds, relax for 3 seconds and long holds are hold for 10 seconds, relax for ten seconds. I have to do each of these about 3 times in about 6 different positions - standing, indian style, laying on my stomach, yoga bridge. You might be thinking, if her vagina's so tight, why is she trying to strengthen her muscles? Well, I have learned that it's important to have strong muscles down there even if you have my problem of clenching too hard because it's just as important to be able to relax those muscles as it is to be able to flex them. So I do the kegels to train my muscles how to relax.
3) I also have to do leg stretches. I know! Why? I am really inflexible and this part is not fun. But all of the muscles in your legs are directly connected to your pelvic floor muscles so it's important to stretch them as well.
Well, I'm exhausted from all this explanation. I hope someone reads this and finds it helpful. Please feel free to comment on the post if you have any questions. Coming next: why I think I need more than a physical therapist - the burning problem.