Vulvodynia - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Vulvodynia. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Stretch

Posted by Anna (Las Vegas, Nv, Usa) on 05/20/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Vulvodynia Remedy: Pelvic Floor Muscles Stretch

Simple vulvodynia remedy/solution/cure (that worked for me) I'm so excited to have finally solved my problem that I need to share it with all of you, because I, like you, suffered SO VERY MUCH and I was so desperate for a solution! Unfortunately there are too many wrong, confusing, even dangerous suggestions online about crazy or expensive treatments, like surgeries, anti-depressants, oxalate diet, etc., when the solution is so simple, yet it eludes everybody. I am proof that vulvodynia can be treated very naturally, easily and FREE at home. If my story can help somebody, at least my pain has had a purpose. I had vulvodynia for almost a year, so bad I couldn't wear underwear/pants, sit down or go by bicycle. [As if it wasn't enough, months after it all began I ALSO started experiencing what I can only explain as urethral spasms (those are actually worse than the vulvodynia pain, because they always came unexpected). I thought there was something wrong w/ my urethra, I even went to a urologist who couldn't understand what I had and didn't find anything wrong w/ me but nonetheless gave me antibiotics which turned out to be totally useless & unnecessary because, as my gyno confirmed, I didn't have whatever strange invisible infection the urologist thought I had. Brilliant!] Anyway, after lots of research online, I realized it was possible that vulvodynia could simply be a muscle problem, so I finally went to a pelvic floor therapist, who confirmed lots of things to me. She did some manual trigger point therapy (which you can do yourself), but mostly what I got out of my experience with her was hope that it could be treated, which was the most important thing to me as the pain was driving me insane. Therapy helped a lot, but as I am unemployed I couldn't afford more sessions. Well, at least I knew for sure it was a muscle problem and nothing else, as I had already experienced a major improvement thanks to her. See, the reason that doctors can run millions of tests on all of you and find nothing wrong/related to the pain is because vulvodynia is simply caused by the SHORTENING of your pelvic muscles due to the trauma of, say, an infection, accident, bad posture, bad habits, scoliosis, or even just name the cause, you're probably right. Those poor, stressed muscles have contracted to the point of causing internal chronic spasms (whether you feel them or not), which tug at your nerves, thus giving you pain! The secret to reverse it, then, it's simply to LENGHTEN the muscles back to their original shape, by stretching them. I, by the way, requested a fantastic book from the library ("Heal Pelvic Pain" by Amy Stein) which explains all of this in detail. You should look into it, too, if you are looking for more info about how numerous pelvic disorders are simply caused by the shortening of the muscles & by trigger points (she explains how to do trigger point therapy -which I love- on yourself, however I found that the stretch I "invented" was enough to make the trigger points go away on their own!). One of her most useful pieces of advice was the part about "dropping the pelvis": until I read her book I never thought/realized how super tense my pelvis always was. Catch yourself anytime and you'll see that if you have vulvodynia your pelvis is all tensed up, drop it! (It's the same feeling as when you have finally reached a bathroom after holding it in for a long time.) Make a conscious effort to drop it/relax it/let go of it as often as possible until it will become normal to you again. (To better understand what I'm talking about, see her book.) I did the long routine of stretching exercises (for different parts of the body) that Amy recommends however I felt none of them were really specific enough to solve the problem, or at least I wasn't feeling any difference fast enough (I'm kinda impatient), as I am unemployed and I have a lot of time on my hands, I started mulling over where the problem was specifically arising from...I thought: it's not my back, or my butt, or my thighs,... my urethral spasms & vulvodynia pain MUST stem from the front of my pelvis (the area below my navel). Well, then! Those are the muscles I have to lengthen! So I created my own (easy) specific stretch exercise, which amazingly accomplished the job very quickly! I felt immediately better the first morning (I had no more urethral spasms! What a miracle!). After 2 days I was already MUCH better, and after a week my vulvodynia was virtually all gone! The longer you do it, the better. It's something you can do as a tune-up once in a while, too. THE SOLUTION: This is done in bed for as long as possible while you read or watch a movie (you'll know when you've had enough), you can get up once in a while if you really need to move around. (I guess you could try it on a table too, I used the bed as it's more comfortable and you can stay there longer.) On the VERY EDGE(<-important!) of the bed, without falling, put as many pillows as possible under your pelvis (it depends on how high your bed is, mine is pretty low), make sure you have some support for your back, too, if necessary, in order to be as comfortable as possible (you'll figure it all out on your own), but the important thing is that your pelvis needs to be a little HIGHER than your back TO CREATE AN ARCH! Then, let your legs hang from the edge of the bed, creating as much of a backward arch --between your thighs & your pelvis-- as possible. Simply lie there and feel the muscles of your pelvis and lower abdomen S-T-R-E-T-C-H. It's very easy. I even extended alternately my legs for further stretch of the pelvis, one leg at the time as much as possible. I did all of this while reading, so it's no big deal, it actually feels good. (I have a tile floor so I used a towel under my feet to made the sliding easier). This is all folks! Let me know if it works for you. If not, get Amy's book and try her stretches, maybe the muscles that you need to lengthen are not the same as mine. It depends on where your pain is, I guess. FURTHER ADVICE: #1 Months ago, when my pain was the worst, I noticed that the only thing that cut my pain in half was drinking a whole stalk of celery juice. Within hours it gave me so much relief! It might be for the same reason that celery is good for rheumatism (I don't have it), I'm not sure why it worked, all I know is that celery juice surely was a huge help! And it went to prove that my vulvodynia had nothing to do with too much oxalates, as celery is high in oxalates! If you strongly believe that your vulvodynia is caused by oxalates (very unlikely from what I've read) I highly recommend that before embarking on such a restricted, crazy diet at least you bother to get a test to confirm whether your oxalates are off, most likely you'll see that everything is normal! #2 As my therapist and Amy Stein say, do NOT do kegel or similar strengthening exercises until the pain goes away first! The problem is that exercises such as kegel actually tend to further contract/shorten the muscles which, in the case of vulvodynia, are already too tensed up to begin with! The exact OPPOSITE needs to be done, instead: RELAX them! #3 Do NOT constantly touch/mess with the area that bothers you! As my therapist said: if you keep on pressing on a bruise, you are preventing it from healing! #4 Also, as much as possible, try NOT to think about it, I know it's really hard, but you need to rewire your brain so that you DON'T constantly EXPECT pain from that area! Otherwise you're keeping the pain alive through a self-fulfilling prophesy.