Does sex hurt with deep penetration?

Front side of box for Ohnut buffer (sexual aid)

I don’t know about you…but even after my surgeries and recoveries, sex can still be painful with deep vaginal penetration; mainly when my husband boinks up near my cervix.

Sometimes it’s enough to knock the wind out of my sails and we have to stop.

Why does it hurt? It could be related to Endometriosis or adhesions. But it’s more likely due to my abnormal anatomy: I have two cervix, side by side. Deep sex has always been painful to me; I only learned it was abnormal after my Endometriosis diagnosis! We’ve adjusted our sexual positions and found several that are doable without deep penetration…but…let’s be honest: I miss some of the many positions we can no longer do.

But there’s hope!

Have you heard of the Ohnut? It’s relatively new and was specifically made to help with that sort of deep-penetration pain. It’s like a sleeve/barrier that wraps around the penis (I can’t type that out without snickering….) and prevents total penetration. It’s customizable in length, too, if not 100% of the device is needed.

The OhNut
Here it is in all it’s glory!

I received ours today! It retails for about $70, but we budgeted it into our finances and hope it’s worth every penny. I’m grateful my husband is willing to give this device a try; a lot of the online reviews from men were positive. Many said they couldn’t feel a difference or didn’t feel like they were being robbed of the experience. And we both look forward to trying it out (insert sheepish grin here).

Expect a review hopefully on the coming weeks. Coming? There’s a pun in there somewhere …

Bring on the bumper-barrier action!

GIF of Homer Simpson in a bumper car colliding with police car

Healthline.com Asked Me to Help!

 

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Screenshot from Healthline.com; 1/31/18

 

I’m so excited I’m going to BURST!

Earlier this month Healthline.coms staff asked if I would be interested in writing a few pieces for their site.  I’ve enjoyed the information they’ve had to offer in the past, and have been honored with a few of their blog awards, so I jumped at the chance to help!

They requested two things:

  1.  An Open Letter to their readers about my experience with Endometriosis, and any thoughts I wanted to share; and
  2. Tips & Tricks on handling painful sex that can sometimes accompany Endometriosis.

I jumped at the chance and began writing.

After I submitted the two pieces, I was then advised that Healthline.com would like to compensate me for my work.  Whua?!? You’re going to PAY me to write about Endometriosis and spreading awareness and helping support others?  …Now if you know me, you know I have this little unwritten moral code: if I make any funds dealing with Endometriosis awareness, fundraising, or the blog, I’m donating it straight to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.  I asked if they could just donate the money directly to the EFA for me; however, due to accounting reasons and stuff, they couldn’t.  So as soon as these funds hit my bank account *poof* they’ll be going straight to the EFA.

I will not, nor will I ever, profit from this damn disease.

BUT, I’m SO honored and excited and jazzed and thrilled and … excited! 😀 I wanted to share these two pieces with you.  If either of them resonates with you, please feel free to share with anyone and everyone.

The Open Letter:  Hey Girl, You Don’t Have to Live with Severe Period Pain

Painful Sex:  The Boss Babes’ Guide to Sex with Endometriosis

Thank you, Healthline staff, for this incredible opportunity for outreach and support.

If you read the articles and want to chime in your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Possible relief from painful sex or penetration? Vuva Magnetic Dilators.

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Vuva-whata-what?

I found these little pink … things … back in October 2016 when I was experience A LOT of pain with sexual intercourse.  I mean, a lot.  I was desperate.  After reading the reviews on how many women who use Vuva Magnetic Dilators had relief from painful sex, I was hooked.  But…I also couldn’t afford to purchase the kit.  And, let’s face it – I had my doubts about magnets in dilators (dildos?) helping me with anything.

So, I wrote the company.  Tara, the creator and founder, immediately wrote me back.  She, too, suffers from Endometriosis.  She also suffers from Vulvodynia and said her magnetic dilators helped her tremendously with her vaginal and pelvic pain, especially with sex!  AND – she offered to send me two dilators for free because she truly believed they would help and wanted to help women in pain.

She didn’t ask me to write this review.  I just wanted to.  And…again…I still had my doubts.

But before I get into my experience, I wanted to explain a little bit about my understanding of what the Vuva Dilators are and how they are supposed to work.

A dilator looks an awful lot like a sex toy you can buy anywhere.  BUT…a dilator is used for medicinal purposes and comes as a set of steadily increasing sizes/girths to help stretch the vaginal opening, or muscles inside the canal (no, I’m not good with scienc-y words).  This may sound painful, but you can get dilators that are *very* small, and work your way up to something that is more comfortable (or close to the size of your partner).  And it’s an incredibly slow and gradual process, stretching at your own pace, taking weeks to months. Vuva dilators are internally lined with Neodymium magnets, which supposedly help relax muscles and increase blood flow to the area.  You insert one of these bad boys for 20-30 minutes each day and that’s it.  There’s no stretching, no rubbing, no moving or wiggling around.  Just stick it in, watch a TV show while laying on the couch, and pull it on out. *voila*

For more information, check out their webpage, which has all kinds of info on why magnets are supposed to work and testimonials.  https://www.vuvatech.com/

Tara shared a study conducted by Physician Care Clinical Research comparing Vuva dilators to regular dilators.  From February 2015-December 2015, a clinical study of Vuva’s effectiveness was conducted on 12 women in Florida.  A year later, the final report was prepared.  The 17-page report outlines the study, which was a randomized, double blind, crossover study for vulva/vaginal pain.  The women had complained of ongoing vaginal/vulva pain for at least three months.  Four areas were covered during the study:  pain with tampon usage, pain of certain areas around the vagina via a cotton swab test, the way a woman felt emotionally about vaginal penetration, and sexual intercourse.

The study’s down and dirty after using Vuva magnetic dilators as instructed (well, my understanding):

  • 90% of the women reported a decrease in pain with tampon usage.  This figure is actually for women who used the Vuva Magnetic Dilators AAAANNNDD women who used the regular dilator (non-magnetic; placebo).  So, using a dilator may help women who experience tampon pain. BUT, for those who used the Vuva magnetic dilators, they experienced twice the amount of pain relief than with regular dilators.  Those who used the Vuva magnetic dilators experienced 30% less pain for the “tampon test.”
  • The cotton swab test was gently prodding a woman around her vulva with a cotton swab and recording the pain levels.  80% of the women reported a decrease in pain levels after using the Vuva magnetic dilators.  On average, 28% less pain!
  • Many women who experience vulva, vaginal, or pain with sex begin to fear the act of penetration itself.  All of the participants stated they had a higher sense of control and self-image.
  • Each woman also kept track of their sexual intercourse, as well as any pain associated with sex.  Unfortunately, half of the women didn’t have sex curing the length of the study.  But for the half that did, 80% of them had sex more often than before!

BUT what about me? Ready for TMI?

Before I started the Vuva magnetic dilators, sex was uber painful.  Don’t get me wrong – it can still be painful…but, we’d have sex, and it’d hurt 6-8 out of 10.  And I’d cramp for several hours (sometimes even into the next day) afterward.  Granted, I had my laparoscopic surgery on September 21, 2017 and was still healing by late October, BUT sex was uber painful and crampy long before that surgery.

Here’s a little tracker on my sex pain, Vuva usage, and my thoughts:

Oct. 16: had sex (me on top) and pain during sex was a 6 out of 10.  Afterward, my cramps were a 3-6 out of 10 and lasted for an hour and a half.

Oct. 29: had sex (me on top) and pain during sex was a 6 out of 10. No cramping.

Nov. 7: I began using IntiMD dilators (just a regular dilator).  Even with the largest dilator, I did not experience changes or anything.  Followed instructions and felt this program was not right for me.

Nov. 10: Used my Vuva Magnetic Dilator for the first time!  No pain or discomfort.  Felt warm and full/fluffy (…down “there”) after 20 minutes of use…in a good way, like having soaked in a hot bath.  Magnet magic? Maybe.  Began to use regularly (every day or every other day).

Nov. 11: Had sex (six hours after using dilator, that weird sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 2 out of 10, cramping was a 1 out of 10 and only lasted an hour.

Nov. 17: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 1 out of 10, cramping was a 3 out of 10 and lasted a few hours.

Dec. 1: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex and me on my stomach).  Sex pain was ZERO!!!!  Cramping was a 2 out of 10, and lasted about 30 minutes.

Dec. 3: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex and me on my stomach).  Sex pain was a 1 out of 10, cramping was a 2 out of 10 and lasted about an hour.

Dec. 4: Had sex (me on top, my laying on my stomach, and doggy style).  Sex pain was a 3 out of 10, cramping was a 2 out of 10, lasting about 30 minutes.

Dec. 14: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO! Oh my god.

Dec. 22: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO! Again!!

Dec. 24: Had sex (me on top).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO!!!

Then I took a break from using my Vuva dilators due to the holidays…bad idea:

Jan. 4: Had sex (doggy style).  Sex pain was a 7 out of 10, cramping was a 3 out of 10, lasting about 30 minutes.  Vowed to renew Vuva usage!!  We’ve also since realized that doggy is just too deep for my nifty anatomy (I have a septated canal and two cervix) so we stick to less-penetrative positions now.

Jan. 19: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

Jan. 29: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

Feb. 23: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

March 7: Had sex (missionary, and sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 3 out of 10 and cramping was a 3 out of 10, which lasted into the next morning.  I had to take a Tylenol PM due to the pain.  It was also the day after my period ended, so things may have still been tender.

March 12: Had sex (me on top).  Sex pain was a zero, but cramping afterward was a 2 out of 10, which lasted about an hour.

**

That’s the extent of my tracking our sexual encounters and pain. We went from having sex maybe once every month or two to multiple times per month!  I felt like I was getting the “old me” back!  I was far more confident, less scared (although still a bit scared…), and very grateful.  And I even instigated several of our sexual encounters.  Woohoo!

Whether it was the magnets in the Vuva dilators, or the placebo affect making me feel better, or having recovered more fully from my September surgery (but remember, I did have this pain prior to surgery), or whatever – I’m grateful.

I must be honest – I haven’t used my Vuva dilators since March because life has been hectic and I haven’t set aside 20-30 minutes of my day.  I’ve been experiencing minimal pain with sex once more, and very minimal cramping.  But guess what?  After typing up my log today, it has renewed by desire to pick the program back up.

I am so grateful to Tara for the products.  And her support and encouragement.  If her products can help other women have less pain, I think that’s wonderful!  If you’d like to look deeper into Vuva Magnetic Dilators, the idea behind them, the instructions, the testimonials, or even purchase a set yourself, please check out https://www.vuvatech.com/

 

 

 

It hurts to have sex…

Bed_in_Seattle_hotel

So this entry’s going to get a bit personal.  And possibly full of Too Much Information.  But it is a topic that needs to be addressed.  Not only for myself, but for countless women suffering from the same issues.

One of the symptoms of Endometriosis for a lot of women is painful sex (either during, after, or both), and it’s estimated that more than half of the women with Endo suffer from it.  The fancy name for pelvic pain during or after sex is Dyspareunia. It’s common among women (between 1-4 out of 10 women complain of it), and it could have a myriad of causes and factors.  Some of those factors can be vaginal dryness, herpes, Endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, Adenomyosis, uterine tilt, bowel tenderness or fullness, pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, or bladder issues.  The pain can be limited to the vaginal opening or canal, or it can extend deeper into the pelvic region and thighs.  This pain can stop as soon as sexual activity is stopped, or can last for hours, or even days afterward.  It can be a dull ache, a sharp pain, stabbing sensations, and can range from barely there to excruciating.

But why does Endometriosis cause pain with sex?  If you suffer from this disease, or know someone who does, you know it causes inflammation where implants are located, as well as scar tissue called adhesions.   These inflamed bits become tender and sensitive.  The adhesions may tether organs together in an unnatural, binding fashion.  The penetration of sex may bump these tender or stuck-out-of-place bits…causing pain.  The jostling around may even be enough to cause pain or rupture cysts and Endometriomas.  Think of your last transvaginal ultrasound, pelvic exam, or abdominal quadrant palpation.  Did those procedures cause you pain?  If so, I’d imagine you also experience pain with sex.

In 2013, the Endometriosis Foundation of America hosted their annual Medical Conference.  Lone Hummelshoj discussed Endometriosis, painful sex, research studies, and treatment.  If interested, you can read the transcript and watch the video here.

I lost my virginity when I was 21.  I was told the first time would hurt…and it did.  Later, I had experienced that same piercing, horrible pain as my first time, and learned I had two cervix and two hymen…and that the 2nd bout of pain was the rupture of my second hymen.  So I thought sex is supposed to hurt.  A penis is inside the vagina, hitting the cervix – bumpin’ uglies… So, I had grown accustomed to sex causing at least some type of pain, aching, and cramping.  I even attributed it to a Damn Good Orgasm; didn’t hurt so much that I didn’t want it…never knew it wasn’t normal.  Fourteen years after my first sexual encounter, I received my Endo diagnosis.  And learned the symptoms.  And learned sex isn’t supposed to be painful.  That this cramping isn’t a sign of a Damn Good O.

After Lupron Depot dried up my mighty lube-maker and girly bits, our sex life changed.  Yes, we resorted to KY Jelly, but everything was paper thin, dry, and uber sensitive down there regardless.  Once off of Lupron Depot, I started a continuous birth control pill.  My lube came back, but my libido has not recovered in over a year.  We have sex drastically less since my diagnosis and some positions just don’t work anymore without causing extreme sensitivity/pain.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m being more aware of my broken body, or if I’m subconsciously scared to cause my body more unnecessary pain, or if it’s the lack of libido, or because I’m on the pill, or a combination of all of these.  I am grateful that my Partner is incredibly understanding.  Sometimes sex hurts.  Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes afterward (and into the next day) I can have bad cramps.  Sometimes not.  It may be that I’m not all lubed up prior to starting (vaginal dryness can lead to painful sex), or I’m still suffering from vaginal atrophy from the Lupron Depot (more kegels!), or it may be my Endometriosis.

Bumpin’ Uglies is one of the most Beautiful Gifts I cherish with my partner.  It’s a deep physical, mental, and spiritual connection with him. Sometimes the decrease in our lovemaking causes me sadness and remorse, I feel like it’s my fault, or I fear I’m not meeting his wants.  But then I have to remember, or am simply reminded by him, that those are not true.  Sex is not the end-all-be-all of our relationship.  Do I miss it? Yes. We still have it from time to time, few and far between. Will it ever go back to the way it was before? I have no idea…

And I’m not alone in my feelings of … failure, sadness, loss, and incompleteness.  Braave.org posted a very touching blog about the comments they received from women about Endometriosis and their sex lives (you can read it here).  It also goes into how you, as a partner, can handle things.  Reading this blog today not only made me cry, hold my breath, and nod my head in agreement…but it forced me to understand that I am not alone in this grief.  And that’s what it is (I think…) – grieving, mourning.  If you haven’t heard of Braave.org, it’s by partners, for partners of women with Endometriosis.  They bring the “significant other” perspective to our disease.  And it’s great.

Some suggestions to help with avoiding painful sex…while not avoiding sex:

  • Listen to your body.  If you’re having a flare-up day, don’t even attempt it.
  • Foreplay, candles, music!  Get in the mood.  And if your body isn’t creating enough lube, grab the tube and go to town.
  • Tempo and pace.  If the pace is too fast or too hard, slow it down, keep it tender.  If it’s too deep, ask that they pull back a little.
  • Change positions.  Certain positions may cause more pain than others.  If it hurts, try switching to a different position which is comfortable for you.  There’s endless inspiration out there…
  • Communication.  Feel free to tell your partner you’re not up to it.  Or ask them to stop because it hurts too much.  If he/she loves you, they’ll listen without question, hesitation, or regret.
  • Heating pad.  Overdid it?  Feel those aches and cramps coming on after the fact? Grab that heating pad.  Yeah, it’s ridiculous…but it helps.

Many women may wish to avoid sex because of the pain.  Many partners may not wish to initiate sex, afraid of hurting her further.  It can make sex a “walking on eggshells” matter…It’s a deeply personal and often embarrassing topic of conversation.  But it is something you should definitely discuss with your partner, if you haven’t already.

And…talk to your doctor.  Just like killer cramps aren’t normal, painful sex is not normal.  It may be as simple as you need to be more excited before you actually have sex…or use lube…but it may be something else…

And if you need someone to talk to, I’m here.

Yours,

Lisa

 

Resources:

Braave.orgSex & Endometriosis : 4 Quotes that will Teach You Everything Women Go Through

Carolinas HealthCare SystemIs Endometriosis Hurting Your Sex Life?

Endometriosis Foundation of AmericaEndometriosis and Painful Sex (video)

Endometriosis.orgPainful Intercourse

Every Day HealthWhy Sex Hurts with Endometriosis

InformedHealth.orgMy Partner Has Endometriosis -what does it mean for me?

Patient.infoDyspareunia (Pain Having Sex)

Prevention8 Reasons It Hurts During Sex – And How to Fix It

ReproductiveFacts.orgWhy Does It Hurt When I Have Sex?

Shape8 Reasons Why Sex Hurts

Smart Living NetworkPainful Sex as a Result of Endometriosis

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa