Emotions: The Missing Link to Healing Vulvodynia and Pelvic Pain

By Lorraine Faehndrich

If you are struggling with Vulvodynia, Interstitial Cystitis, or another Pelvic Pain Syndrome, if you’ve seen a doctor (or several) and haven’t been able to find lasting relief, there is a good chance that the underlying cause of your pain has to do with the ways you’ve learned to process emotion.

Please don’t think this means that you’re doing anything wrong, or that your pain is your fault.

It absolutely is not!

Many women develop an unconscious reflex of guarding and protecting themselves – from perceived danger and from their own emotions – by tensing and contracting the muscles in their pelvic floor.

To determine if this may be true for you, all you have to do is start noticing what happens to your pelvic floor muscles when you feel stressed, anxious, angry or afraid.

If your pelvic floor muscles tense when you’re in a stressful situation – or when you feel angry or afraid – it’s a good indication that the way you are unconsciously processing emotion is contributing to your pain.

And, if you have no idea if your pelvic floor muscles are tensing and contracting or not, because you can’t feel them, that’s also a good indication that the root of your pain is emotional.

If you’re ready to get to the root of your pain and achieve lasting pain relief so that you can get your life back – than read on!

Learning how to process emotions (past and present) in a healthy way is the crux of effective Mind Body Healing.

Things like yoga, relaxation, and meditation can help, but they will usually not be effective long term on their own – unless they are combined with skills that help you to feel and process your emotions.

If you’re wondering what the heck I mean by that or how to do it, I’m going to explain that in just a moment….

First, let’s take a closer look at emotions.

What’s the deal with emotions and pelvic pain anyway?

About 8 years ago I came across the idea that my emotions were guidance from my soul and that they actually had a purpose and served a function.

Hallelujah! You mean there’s actually a reason for these things!

I can’t tell you the relief I felt.

I had spent most of my life feeling really bad for having too many emotions, for not knowing how to handle them better, for being too angry, or feeling sad or depressed when I thought I should be happy.  I thought something was deeply and irreversibly wrong with me.

Maybe you’re someone who can relate to this, or maybe you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with emotions. 

You may think that for the most part you are fine. Everything is fine.  Your life is just great.

Except of course for this awful pain.

Whether like me, you’ve considered yourself “over emotional” and you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, or you feel just fine and don’t struggle with emotions much at all….

I’m going to take a wild guess that you’ve never really learned how to feel and process your emotions in a healthy way – let alone how to use them to access your guidance and intuition and live a rich, rewarding, joyful and radiantly healthy life! 

I didn’t.

Most of us don’t.

In fact, for the most part we are shamed or threatened out of allowing our emotions.

The culture we live in does not value or understand emotions – or the impact they have on our body and our lives.

Don’t you find it surprising that we learn so little about something that is so much a part of all of our lives – every day?

We receive precious little, if any, guidance about how to feel or interpret emotions – as children or as adults.

In fact, we figure out at a very young age how to not feel them.

…with varying degrees of success.

So, why bother learning how to feel and process emotions now?

Well, aside from the fact that they provide incredible wisdom and guidance once you know how to access it….

Not feeling them is causing Physical PAIN, yes even pelvic pain

Here’s how.

Can you remember a time – as a child or an adult – that you stopped yourself from crying?

Maybe you would have gotten in trouble if you did. Maybe you were told, “Big girls don’t cry.” or warned, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” Or maybe you just felt embarrassed or unsafe about showing your true feelings in front of others.

Whatever the reason, take a minute and see if you can remember what it feels like in your body to hold those tears in?

Do you notice that you feel contracted?  Maybe you held your breath or tensed your muscles.  Maybe you felt a lump in your throat, some heaviness in your chest, or a knot in your belly.  Maybe you notice another sensation entirely.

Whatever physical sensations you remember, I can pretty much guarantee that they didn’t feel good.

It takes a lot of energy to hold back emotion.

In order to stop emotional energy from moving, so that we don’t feel or show it, we have to tense and contract muscles, hold our breath, and usually dissociate a little from our body to tolerate the discomfort of the resistance.

Just like holding back our tears, it doesn’t feel good and it takes a lot of energy.

Energy that could be much better used on other things.

We get so good at suppressing emotions that we are able to do it without having any idea that we are. 

The process becomes completely unconscious, just like tying our shoes or riding a bike.

Pretty soon we end up tensing and contracting certain muscles all day long, day in and day out, in order to hold back emotions we’re not even aware we’re having.

This can result in:

  • Chronic Pain – including Vulvodynia, Interstitial Cystitis, and other Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes
  • Feeling totally fine – well except for that pain that won’t go away
  • Chronic anxiety or depression – which aren’t actually emotions, but the result of unfelt and unprocessed emotion, or
  • Excessive levels of anger that are either held back, or inappropriately expressed.

Depending on where the muscles that you’re tensing and contracting are, you can end up with….migraines and headaches, back and neck pain, hip and knee pain, pelvic pain, and of course bladder, vaginal and vulvar pain.

Chronically contracted muscles cut off blood flow and oxygen to muscles, skin, nerves and organs.  This is hard on the body.  It actually puts your body into a semi state of emergency triggering your brain to activate the fight or flight response.

Then the fight or flight response releases a whole cascade of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol that increase your heart rate and physical tension, decrease blood flow to your skin, digestive system, and reproductive tract, and in general wear your body out.

Chronically tensed and contracted pelvic floor muscles can lead to other issues too.  Sometimes before burning, stinging, or inflammation arises, women experience issues with sexual desire, arousal or orgasm.  Sometimes they have difficult birth experiences or struggle with chronic yeast or bladder infections.

Feel Your Emotions

Reversing all of this requires learning how to allow and feel all of your emotions – in a way that they will not take over or negatively impact your life.

Unless your doctor has identified another cause for your pain – like an injury or other pathology, it’s very likely that your vulvar pain is the result of long-term chronic contraction of your pelvic floor muscles.

And, until you address the underlying cause of the tension – which is emotional, whatever else you do to relieve pain – is not likely to be a long-term solution.

The pain will keep returning until you learn a new way to be with your emotions. 

The good news is though that although it takes some time and a commitment to learn a new way of processing emotions, it is totally doable, and it has lots of other benefits!

Not only will it help you relieve pain, it will allow you to access your intuition and create an entirely new relationship with yourself, your body, your emotions, and your soul.

Which improves every area of your life.

What’s next?

Start by paying closer attention to your body.

Which muscles regularly feel tense?  Which ones feel relaxed? What happens in your body when you are under stress – emotional or otherwise?

If you’d like some help connecting to your body and feeling your emotions, make sure to check out the Healing Female Pain program.  This program will walk you step by step through learning what you need to know to relieve your pain.

Learn more and register here!

In upcoming articles I’ll be sharing more with you about what emotions actually are and how to process them in a healthy way.

For now start with attention and awareness.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

As always I’d love to hear from you!

Are you aware of regularly holding tension in your pelvic floor muscles or anywhere else?  Does this idea that thoughts and emotions can cause or contribute to Vulvodynia and other Pelvic Pain Syndromes resonate with you?  Leave your thoughts and any questions in the comments below.

If you found this post helpful, please like it and share it with your friends!

 

34 Comments

  1. Bonnie Bauman

    Hi Lorraine,

    I came across your article and wanted to point out a couple of important points that I believe are missing.

    First, there are a great many physiological reasons that can cause a women to develop pelvic pain, reasons that a doctor/doctors won’t be able to identify a cause for for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many doctors, ob/gyns included are not trained in the anatomy of the pelvic floor musculature and two, because there are certain abnormalities that won’t show up on diagnostic tests. So just because a doctor can’t uncover a pathology or there hasn’t been a specific trauma that a patient can link to their start of their pain does not mean that their pain is caused by unprocessed emotions.

    Anxiety and stress can exacerbate pelvic pain, but it rarely is the main cause.

    Also, while learning to relax the pelvic floor is an important factor in healing pelvic pain as the onset of pain will cause the muscle guarding that you speak of therefore a pain cycle is set off. The tools you mention should be used as an adjunct to good pelvic floor physical therapy.

    The following blog is a great source of information about how pelvic floor physical therapy can help sufferers of pelvic pain–both women and men. http://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/blog

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Bonnie. Thank you for your comment and for mentioning physical therapy. Yes! I agree that many doctors are not adequately trained in this area and that good physical therapy can be very helpful with pelvic pain. The resource you’ve mentioned is a great one. I also recommend Amy Stein’s book “Healing Pelvic Pain” and Isa Herrera’s book “Ending Female Pain”. They are listed in the resource section on my website. Good physical therapy is a modality I recommend for my clients and other women suffering with pelvic pain.

      In my experience though, many women don’t completely heal with good physical therapy alone. Having been a massage therapist for many years, I know firsthand the impact that thoughts and emotions can have on every system of the body, in particular the muscles and physical alignment, and the nervous system. In fact, the underlying cause of a great majority of muscle tension, pain, and misalignment stems from deeper emotional causes. Our very mechanistic medical care system is just beginning to explore this reality, but humans have accessed their mind-body-spirit connection to heal for hundreds of years!

      The mind and body are actually one. We can’t separate them. The ways we think and handle stress, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves, the experiences we’ve had in our lives, and our emotions, all have a direct impact on our body. Just as what happens in our body has an impact on our mind. There are of course other causes for pelvic pain that don’t have to do with mental and emotional patterns or life experiences. But in my experience with my own healing, and with the women I work with, the thing that bings lasting relief, is getting to the root of the pain, working with the mind body connection, understanding how our body communicates with us, and specifically, learning how to feel and process emotion.

      Some other fabulous resources on this topic include The Mindbody Prescription by Dr. John Sarno, When the Body Says No, by Gobor Mate, and Unlearn Your Pain by Dr. Howard Schubiner. Dr. Sarno worked primarily with back pain patients and found that even in the cases where a patient had had surgery or showed other physical causes (ie. a disc out of alignment, etc.) over 90% of them recovered with his program of addressing the mental and emotional causes. He also found that the patients who recovered the fastest were the ones he took off all physical therapy because they completely accepted the idea that their pain was mental and emotional – and not physical.

      I do think that good physical therapy can be a very effective adjunct to healing pelvic pain – even when the deeper cause is a mind body issue, but in that case it’s important to keep in mind that one of the things physical therapy does is to help open up the body and start moving emotion. This combined with the skills to allow and feel emotions and use them as guidance to live in alignment with your deeper truth is an effective healing combination.

      Thank you for opening up the discussion!
      Warmly, Lorraine

      Reply
      • Bonnie Bauman

        Hi Lorraine,

        Thank you for responding to my comments! This is such an important convo!

        Here’s some further thoughts: I believe that so many don’t get better with PT alone b/c it’s so dang hard to find the right pelvic floor PT! Here’s a great article on this problem:

        http://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/blog/2012/05/what-is-a-good-pelvic-pain-pt-session-like/

        I believe a better place for the conversation about how emotions impact chronic pain is the discussion of the brain and pain, such as is highlighted in the research of Dr. Lorimer Moseley, an Australian clinical scientist who focuses on the brain and chronic pain. If you haven’t already you should check out his blog: http://www.bodyinmind.org.

        I think the issue I have with your article is that it leaves the science out and so therefore runs the risk of adding credence to the dreaded “it’s all in your head” line of thinking that women with vulvodynia and MEN and women with pelvic pain have had to battle against for so long. It’s terrain that advocates for folks with pelvic pain have worked so hard to get away from.

        All that said, I think it’s so great that you’re focusing on such an important topic and that you’re open and willing to have such an important conversation!

        All the best to you!

        Reply
        • Lorraine

          Hello Bonnie.

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry that it took me a little while to reply. You brought up some important topics and I wanted to adequately respond to them.

          I can hear that you are very passionate about good physical therapy and I appreciate you’re desire to educate women about it! The link you’ve provided is a great resource for women looking for a good pelvic pain physical therapist. I’ve also included a link to The Pelvic Pain and Rehab Center on my resources page for women who would like to call for a direct referral to a good PT in their area. I’m sure that PT on it’s own can be an effective treatment for some women and certainly an effective part of a multidisciplinary approach to healing for many others.

          However, there are also many women who have found lasting relief from Vulvodynia without any physical therapy, as well as women who have worked with very good PTs and been helped in the short run (or have found partial relief with PT), only to have their pain return. Many of these women do find lasting pain relief and feel more in control of their health when they learn to shift the mental and emotional patterns that are creating the stress and tension in the first place.

          Yes. There is a lot of great science and many resources available about how the brain can create pain and also about how thoughts and emotions can contribute physiologically to pain, and in my work with clients that is something we spend a great deal of time. I think that understanding the process and the science behind it is very important. That is one of the main points I covered in this blog post – the physiological connection between emotions and pain.

          It is not my intention to contribute to or add any credence to the myth that the pain is “All in Your Head”. It is my intention to educate women about the very real physiological connection between their emotions, thoughts and stress – and their pain. Of course the pain is not in your head! I’ve experienced it myself and can absolutely vouch for the fact that it is real physical pain and it hurts like crazy! I address that more in other posts including this one https://radiantlifedesign.com/2012/12/what-is-vulvodynia-a-mind-body-perspective/ Of course, there is only so much I cover in one article or it becomes overwhelming to read, but I think you’ll find if you spend more time on my site that one of my main goals is to help women understand the science and physiology behind where the pain is coming from so that they can get rid of it. Thank you for contributing your resource to that.

          In my experience, no one path to healing Vulvodynia and Pelvic Pain works for every woman. Each woman has a different history, different symptoms, different lifestyle and personality, different ways of thinking and treating themselves and varying levels of stress, tension, and pain in their lives. As such, there are many different tools and modalities that can be part of an effective treatment plan.

          One of the things I do with my clients is help them reconnect to their body and emotions so that they can not only reverse the mental and emotional patterns that cause physical stress and lead to pain, but ultimately access their body’s wisdom and their own intuition so that they can navigate the unique path that will work for them. The process is very individual and learning to trust yourself and your own body is a critical piece to success. We are not machines. We are human beings with a mind, body, emotions, and soul and each of those aspects of who we are effect the others. They can’t be separated. True, lasting, and effective healing can only come from addressing all of those components of who we are.

          I think you may have just inspired my next blog post!

          Warmest Wishes, Lorraine

          Reply
          • Bonnie Bauman

            Well said! Thank you so much Lorraine for your amazing and gracious response to my comments!

  2. Kevin

    This is a fantastic article that not only just applies to women but men who are suffering with CPPS as well! I do agree that the underlying condition (that most doctors won’t know how to treat) of a lot of instances of CPPS is emotions. Today marks the 21st month since my symptoms began and it took a long time to reverse engineer what has happened and try to get to the root of the problem rather than solely treating the symptoms. Articles like this just help to confirm that there is a logical explanation and that the pain can be overcome. Thank You!!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Kevin. You’re Welcome! Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience and pointing out that yes, men suffer with Chronic Pelvic Pain too. It’s so helpful for men and women who are suffering to know that there is hope and that getting to the root of the problem will help them heal. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to do that for yourself! Great to hear from you. All the best, Lorraine

      Reply
  3. Jo

    Hi Lorraine, thank you so much for using your experience to help teach others. I am emotional just responding because I had no idea this was an issue for me. At first I was angry that you suggested it to me on our vv support group, but now I know you are right. I would have never thought it was as important as I do now. I’m also convinced that most chronic pain is from this as well. I’m leaning so much about myself and I hope to heal. I think I will go to therapy as well since I know someone who specializes in chronic pain. I always thought it was pain management but now I know it’s more about what you wrote. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Jo. You are very welcome! Thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to hear that you are seeing this connection for yourself and touched that I was able to play any part in that. I am beyond excited for you! I can feel the “aha’s” from here :). Absolutely – emotions are at the root of all kinds of chronic pain. Thanks for your honesty about your initial reaction. I completely understand and know that it can be a common response to hearing this at first. It can make you feel like it’s your fault somehow when actually it isn’t at all and ultimately it is an extremely empowering approach to healing. I wish you all the best on your self discovery and healing journey! If I canever be of any help let me know. Warmly, Lorraine

      Reply
  4. Dianne James

    Reading this article has given me another view on vulvodynia and pelvic pain which I’m getting more stressed with as the pain is so bad and feel no one understands.So the more stressed I’m feeling maybe my this is why the pain is so bad

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Dianne. Yes, the stress caused by the pain and feeling no one understands can absolutely create more pain. Learning how to get out of that pain – stress – pain loop can make a big difference. Thanks for your comment. All the best, Lorraine

      Reply
  5. Cecilia

    Hi Lorraine, I would like to thank you for your article. I was diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction just recently and for all that I’ve read, there seems to be no specific treatment for anyone suffering from this. You gave me hope that this could be overcome by getting in touch with your emotions. Reading your article sure made me realize I have underlying issues that needed to be dealt with in order to heal. It has been a life changing experience. One thing that helps me to deal with this is prayer. I believe if we ask God for healing, and if we do our part to become better, God will show us the way. Thank you for your article, it surely gave me hope.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Cecilia.
      Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad that this article gave you hope and helped you to realize that there are underlying issues that need to address in order for your body to heal. That wonderful, because the awareness is the first step to lasting relief. ! I wish you all the best on your healing journey.
      Warmest Wishes,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  6. Chantal Leven

    Thanks Lorraine sharing your knowledge with us i will read your every blog. you are too superb

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Thank you Chantal!

      Reply
  7. Belinka

    Hi Lorraine
    I’ve been suffering with vulval/vaginal discomfort/pain for 3 months now….a few days ago after yet another dr visit with no answers, I came home & just decided to sit in my pain emotionally to see what would happen…..WOW did some heavy emotions, thoughts, visions come to the surface!!! I ended up processing for about 2 hours….
    Then, I was doing another internet search on V pain & for the first time in 3 months came across your site….no such thing as coincidence. I fully believe I only found your wisdom because I’m ready to heal from the deepest part of my being….not find a medical bandaid to cover my emotional pain.
    Thank you for being so honest and open about this subject….I feel a lot better today after exploring my body/mind/spirit for wisdom and answers to this chronic condition. I feel I’m finally on the way to healing myself….from deep within….releasing all the emotional blocks that have caused my pain so I can be well again. Your insights are inspirational & accurate. I would love to have a session with you to accelerate my healing.
    Thank you again for helping and healing us all.

    Reply
  8. Candice

    I came across this accidentally while searching for something else. I’ve suffered with terrible stomach pains for a few years now and was diagnosed with IBS. It seems my symptoms are brought on by emotional stress and not food related. A lot of what you are saying sounds right about my stomach pains. When I’m in a stressful situation my stomach starts to hurt really bad and I noticed that I tense my stomach muscles. If I focus on relaxing or pushing out my stomach muscles it relieves the pain. Would be interested to know if what you are talking about is the cause of my symptoms instead of IBS which they say they don’t really know the cause. Definitely gives me something to think about.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Candice,

      IBS can definitely have mind body causes – just like vulvodynia. In fact IBS is considered a chronic pelvic pain as well. Many women I work with suffer from both IBS and vulvodynia and notice improvements in both when they use the Mind Body tools. I definitely think you’re onto something and it for sure can’t hurt to begin working with the Mind Body principles alongside whatever else you’re already doing. Our thoughts, emotions, and life experiences have such a significant impact on our bodies physiologically (as you’re already seeing) and it’s just not something we’re ever taught to take seriously as part of our health and healing. So yes, absolutely what I’ve described here can be at the root of IBS. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience!

      Warmest Wishes,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  9. Kathy

    Dear Lorraine
    I’ve read yours and others posts with much interest.
    I have a chronic pelvic Pain syndrome that includes
    painful bladder -pelvic floor dysfunction and severe
    Anal/rectal pain with sitting and standing .
    I have tried many medical interventions including lots of PT and got
    absolutely nowhere in resolving my pain. Instead I got worse.
    Tho I have investigated Mind-body interventions before but,your ideas resonate
    the most, and describe to a T the type of tension anxiety pain cycle I
    have felt nn my pelvic floor
    Any negative emotion or even a confrontational conversation
    Tightens my pelvic floor and heightens my pain. I’ve researched my debilitating
    Syndrome thoroughly and have many questions and ideas about the
    Root cause. But I know emotions play a big part for me ,just not sure how Im suppressing would love to find out how to process and release them once and for all
    asI do feel this could play a big part in my pain syndrome and in
    getting better,
    Thanks to you and to Bonnie and to everyone’s insightful postings
    An online friend referred me to your site. I will contact you soon and
    hope to speak with you in more detail.
    Best Wishes
    Kathy
    Ps sorry for

    M

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      It’s wonderful to hear from you Kathy. I’m so glad this information is resonating for you and that you’re seeing the connections! Thank you for your comments and for sharing your experience. I look forward to hearing from you and talking more.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  10. Kathy

    Pls see my post above. Sorry for any typos
    Am typing on an iPhone

    Reply
  11. Margie

    How is “central sensitization ” incorporated into the mind/body theory. I understand that CS is an area of the peripheral nervous system that has become so highly sensitized that even light touch will set the pain reaction off as severe pain.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Margie,

      Central Sensitization is just another way of saying that the nervous system is sensitized, “amped up” or over stimulated…which according to mind/body theory happens when emotions are suppressed. The emotion suppression (along with thoughts and other factors) lead to a chronically activated sympathetic nervous system response and all the stress hormones that go along with that….all of which can lead to more tension, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety….all of which further sensitize the nervous system. In my opinion, it’s that negative feedback loop that “sensitizes” the nervous system as is described in CS. In addition mind/body theory addresses triggers or the ways our brain learns to create pain even when there is no physical issue. I would say Mind/Body theory and Central Sensitization are essentially the same thing except that the latter doesn’t always consider emotions or psychological factors as the cause. Although I did find this: “Psychophysiological factors, such as the stress-response, are also apt to play a role in the development of central sensitization. Direct experimental evidence on animals 23 24 and humans, 25 26 as well as prospective studies on humans, 27 have shown a relationship between stress and lowering of pain thresholds. Similarly, different types of pre-existing anxiety about pain is consistently related to higher pain sensitivities. 28 29 All these psychophysiological factors suggest that the pre-existing state of the nervous system is an important determinant of developing central sensitization following the onset of pain. It stands to reason. If the stress response has made the nervous system reactive prior to injury, then the nervous system might be more prone to become centrally sensitized once onset of pain occurs.” at http://www.instituteforchronicpain.org/understanding-chronic-pain/what-is-chronic-pain/central-sensitization Again, according to mind/body theory it would be suppressed emotions that are causing that stress and anxiety. Hope that’s helpful! Thanks for your question.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  12. Paul

    It’s so interesting and reassuring to read all this! I am a man who has been dealing with CPPS for four years now and occasional IBS symptoms too! Nice combo!
    I am now convinced that the root cause of my problems are based on emotions, particularly fear and anger. I suffer with anxiety and have recently experienced vey strong emotions of love towards someone that I have had to suppress because I can’t be with that person.
    My pelvic symptoms include bladder pressure, frequency, hesitancy, urgency and occasional pain/spasms in the pelvic floor. I was tested negative for infection and my prostate is fine.
    I hope to have some PT soon for tight pelvic muscle release but I am sure the cycle of fear, worry, anxiety, muscle tension and over-stimulated nervous system is all linked to this. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. Our bodies are bound to react to the way we think and if we do it long enough, dysfunction is inevitable.
    Paul.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Yes Paul! I’m so happy that you’ve had that realization. It is the first step to getting on the path to lasting relief. Thanks for reading and sharing and best of luck to you!! Warmly, Lorraine

      Reply
  13. Cheri

    Hi , I’ve suffered now from this dreadful curse of burning tightening pain that has gone on for 5months now , I’m so glad I came across your site as to be honest doctors are clueless as to what to do , I’ve applied so many creams that I now react badly to them including the hydrocortisone which was prescribed for 8 wks ( can only imagine how raw I became ) I’m now realising that the tension this is causing is making matters worse my life is fraught with anxiety , stress , ibs c , food intolerances , and I’m waking up to the idea that my body has gone into flight or fight and while ever my head is so messy my body will be just as bad , doctors just prescribe anti depressants which in my opinion may be good for some but for me it masks the problem not treats it , my approach now is holistic as for 5 mths western medicine has only made matters far worse !! Thank you thank you thank you

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Cheri,

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you came actress my site too, and that you’ve switched to a holistic approach! Addressing the mental, emotional and nervous system components of the pain is what will relieve it, much more effectively than any cream or other medication…which can sometimes help, but as you experienced usually make things worse. Happy Healing!

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  14. Suzanne M

    You talked a lot about pelvic floor pain, but didn’t really talk about vulvodynia. My issues with burning, itching and tight vaginal muscles started the day I had my last well woman exam. That night I had intimacy with my husband and it was all itchy and burny then. I feel like it was related to the speculum as it felt like the doc opened it too abruptly or too far. Have gone to 5 appointments, the last one with a specialist. She gave me lydacaine ointment and said the area can get over stimulated and there is sooo much “noise”. So the lydacaine was supposed to quiet the noise so it could reset. A week later and if I don’t put the meds on it just comes right back. Can you talk about vulvodynia specifically? Thanks

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Suzanne, Everything in this article (and on my blog) applies to vulvodynia, and the symptoms you mention…burning, itching, and tight vaginal muscles. Vulvodynia is one type of pelvic pain, and has all of these underlying mind body factors. Vulvar pain is what I experienced personally as well. That “noise” your doctor is referring to has to do with overstimulated nerves and pain pathways. A huge contributor to that is emotions and the ways your brain responds to them. Did you have specific questions about vulvodynia that you would like me to answer? Warmly, Lorraine

      Reply
  15. Bethany

    Thank you for this amazing article!
    I have dealing with vaginal pain for over a year and a half. I have felt so alone and confused, after ruling out all possible physical issues after countless doctors trips I felt at a loss with no hope of resolution.
    I never ruled out the possibility of emotional trauma being the root of my problem but I didn’t know much about it, didn’t think there was a lot of information on it and felt like I was the only one in the same position.
    Then I read a post by someone on Instagram who was dealing with a similar issues and she helped bring a lot of things to light. I was finally able to achknowledge and accept the role psychological trauma has had on my physical body.
    I have been looking into it more since then and stumbled across this article. You explain everything perfectly, I have no doubts in my mind and a new hope so thank you!
    My body has felt alien to me all this time but now I am ready to heal.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Bethany. You’re welcome! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found this path to heal your body, that you have new hope (you absolutely can heal!) and that my article was helpful in your process. Thank you for sharing your experience. Sending tons of love and healing vibes your way. <3 <3 <3 Lorraine

      Reply
  16. Jen

    I had vaginal prolapse surgery 5 years ago and ever since I have been aching and throbbing, I have seen gynos who have said everything is fine down there. Only after reading this have I realised it’s been caused by emotional stress after there were many complications from the surgery. I hadn’t noticed either that when I am stressed it hurts more and when it hurts more, I get very anxious which makes it worse. I also get this strange thing where if anyone talks about something painful or I see anything painful happen on tv (broken leg etc), my vagina starts aching like crazy for a few minutes, out of curiosity have you ever heard of this before?

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Jen,

      Yes. These can all be common patterns when you’re dealing with pain that has underlying mind body causes! It’s a great sign that starting to address these mind body factors could help to relieve your pain.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  17. Julie

    Hi Lorraine
    Fairly new to the mind body syndrome and completely get it.
    I have had bladder problems for last 7 months, sudden onset of urgency and frequency. Had numerous tests and nothing found. I now in the last few months have developed excruciating pain in my sit bones, is this part of the pelvic floor? Its seems to be too much of a coincidence to not be related, but I am not sure. Had pelvis x ray and that was ok too along with CT scan that I had already had for bladder but hadnt developed the sit bone pain at time of CT scan. I have had a truck load of stress since October 2018 but was suffering with anxiety prior to that and the stress of Oct 2018 ramped up my anxiety and stress levels. My bladder was normal until July 2019 and sit bones started soon afer this but no unbearable pain like it is now. I feel very low and hopeless right now. Looking forward to the videos you are doing soon.

    Reply

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