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Women''s health

Women's guide to dealing with painful sex

Saturday, October 26, 2013 by: Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Tags: women''s health, painful sex, sexual health

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(NaturalNews) Women of all ages may experience pain during sex, and finding the cause as well as solutions can sometimes prove to be a challenging investigative process. The most common reasons that sex may be painful are lack of lubrication, vaginal tensing and involuntary vaginal muscle contractions. The pain can range from slight discomfort to extreme pain with vaginal bleeding and tearing. In addition, vaginal re-tightening and sensitivity can occur for a variety of reasons, and it is a false assumption that only women who have never had intercourse or children are the only ones who can experience these symptoms.

Discerning the cause of vaginal pain is important, as the best course of action will be based on the root of the problem along with using some helpful tools to ease symptoms. In most cases, simple changes to nutritional intake address a variety of causes, but the best place to start is consulting with a health care provider to review symptoms. Make sure to begin with a focus on reviewing your nutritional, medication and supplement intake, as these are the simplest to correct and the most common.

Getting blood work to examine blood cell count and production, hormone levels and micronutrient levels (vitamins, antioxidants, etc.) can quickly identify what may be the contributing cause. If vaginal pain is left untreated, further health problems can result in multiple issues occurring simultaneously and causing increased vaginal pain even from doing daily activities such as sitting, riding a bike and more.

There are many causes of vaginal pain, but to give a better idea of how this may escalate, here is a specific scenario:

Take for example a woman who has poor nutrition habits; this can cause health issues such as excessive histamine reactions in her body which cause pain from any friction applied to her vaginal walls. She may also have low iron levels which can cause decreased blood flow to the genitals, loss of libido, decreased lubrication and the inability to dilate and orgasm.

Often, when doctors are unsure of what is causing vaginal pain, they assign the diagnosis of vulvodynia. If the nutritional cause is ignored, then the pain may continue, and she may develop vaginismus, which is when involuntary muscular contractions occur in the vagina through the anticipation of pain. If she continues to refrain from sex, the vaginal opening can re-tighten, causing even the slightest attempt at penetration to be quite uncomfortable.

Nutritional assistance for a healthy vagina

If you find that nutritional intake is a key factor in causing vaginal pain, there are certain foods and supplements that can assist you in rejuvenating your sexual health:

• Hydrate: Some vaginal dryness can caused by dehydration.

• Healthy Oils: Vaginal lubrication can be increased by consuming healthy oils found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils and vitamin E. Foods that are particularly helpful for vaginal dryness are pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and safflower oil. Make sure, if you eat nuts and seeds, that you eat them raw and avoid cooking them, which can negate some of the nutrients. To further aid in digestion and to receive the maximum health benefits of seeds and nuts, you should soak them for several hours and then dry in a dehydrator before consuming. This neutralizes their enzyme inhibitors which make them difficult to digest, making them even healthier for you to consume.

• Wild Yams: These are helpful in increasing estrogen levels. If you opt to consume these on a regular basis, make sure that you have your hormones checked first, as you do not want to cause a hormonal imbalance. There are also wild yam vaginal creams that some women find helpful for menopausal symptoms related to low estrogen. If you use one, make sure it is paraben-free, as many on the market contain such toxins, especially propylparaben.

• Black Cohosh: Long used by Native Americans, black cohosh helps to reduce the frequency and severity of irregular periods, vaginal dryness, headaches, night sweets, hot flashes and heart palpitations.

• Kudzu: Research indicates that, when taken over a 24 week period, Kudzu in capsule form helped women to alleviate vaginal dryness.

• Sea Buckthorn: This helps with vaginal dryness and aids mucus membranes, as it is rich in vitamins A, E and C along with helpful fatty acids, minerals, beta-carotene and amino acids.

• Soy: There are some controversial reports about soy; however, research has shown that soy mimics estrogen and aids in perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms from vaginal dryness to hot flashes. (http://www.holisticwisdom.com)

Tools to relax the vagina

When vaginal pain or tightness occurs, a helpful tool for women to use is either a dilator or speculum. A dilator is a helpful sexual health tool that offers different size shafts that are interchangeable as one progresses from extra small sizes through increasingly larger ones until the desired stretching is achieved. They aid in mild stretching exercises in order to keep the vaginal walls receptive to sexual intercourse and are easy to use. This will also help keep the vaginal walls from becoming too tight and aid in helping keep muscles from tensing during sex.

When using a dilator, it may be helpful for a woman to stimulate her clitoris by rubbing it or using a vibrator for stimulation to assist the vagina in better being able to dilate and lubricate. Lubrication should also be used, and a wonderful and natural choice is organic coconut oil, which is an effective lubricant that also helps prevent yeast and bacterial infections. Please note, however, that oil lubricants can break down condoms, diaphragms and some sexual products. In such cases, it may be best to use a paraben-free water-based lubricant. (http://www.holisticwisdom.com)

Using a dilator

When the vaginal muscles are overly tight or there is a need to stretch the vaginal opening, using a dilator for a couple of weeks can provide significant relief in the reduction of pain and in the receptiveness to penetration.

Most women find that using a dilator alone in the bath or shower provides them with a tranquil environment where she can focus on her ability to relax and gently insert the variously sized shafts. The shafts come in a variety of sizes, and, once a woman has successfully been able to insert a small size comfortably and hold it in for several minutes, she can then gradually begin to use the next size up. This is typically done over a period of weeks where one size is used each day until the vaginal walls are able to graduate to the next size.

Specific vaginal pain causes and suggestions

To learn more about the specific causes of vaginal pain, as well as the different techniques for addressing such pain, see this helpful article: (http://www.holisticwisdom.com).






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