Vulvodynia and Chronic Pelvic Pain: What is Your Body Saying to You?

By Lorraine Faehndrich

YOU are on this planet to THRIVE.

You are beautiful and worthy and here to experience outrageous joy, connection, deep intimacy, passion, freedom, love and abundance…..to live your truth, fulfill your purpose, be authentically who you are and share your amazing gifts with the world.

Unfortunately, if you are experiencing vulvodynia, chronic pelvic pain, or any other type of chronic pain or anxiety right now you probably don’t feel like you’re thriving!

Understandably so.

Chronic pain anywhere in your body, but especially in the most intimate part of your body can definitely take a toll on your ability to experience joy.

It interferes with your ability to do the things you love to do, and can leave you feeling alone, afraid, hopeless and angry.

I know. I’ve been there!

The thing is though that even if it seems like your pain is causing your current lack of joy…..

It’s actually the other way around.

I know that may be hard to believe….

Let me clarify that I absolutely am NOT saying that you’ve done something WRONG that caused your pain – or that it’s “all in your head”. This isn’t about blame or making light of your VERY REAL PHYSICAL PAIN…..it’s about empowering yourself and learning how to understand your body and your health in a more complete way.

This is also not something most doctors will ever tell you, or even believe….although there are many now who do!

The truth is that chronic pain, and in particular chronic pelvic pain, with a few clear exceptions that can be identified by a medical specialist, is almost always a sign that somewhere in your life you are out of alignment with your own truth…….that you’re not listening to yourself fully, treating yourself kindly or honoring your own needs.

PELVIC PAIN and other chronic pain is a SYMPTOM of not thriving.  It’s not the cause of your suffering, it’s the effect of it.

If you have vulvodynia or another chronic pain syndrome anywhere in your body, your body is communicating with you in a way that you most likely have never been taught how to understand.

Most of us don’t learn how to access or understand our body’s guidance until we are forced into it due to a chronic pain syndrome, or another illness for which there is no effective treatment.

Like your own personal GPS, your body has been giving you moment to moment guidance about who you are, what is right for you, where you are on your soul’s path, and how to get where you want to go….for your whole life.

It didn’t start our screaming at you with chronic pelvic pain. It started communicating in whispers….a gut feeling here, a little tension there, an occasional headache, low energy, anxiety….

And now it’s talking louder. But it’s still just talking and it’s ready to share with you everything you need to know to relieve your pain.

Not sure if this is true for you?

Consider this………..

What was going on in your life before your pain started – or before whatever it is that you think caused your pain happened?

How did you feel then?

Were you genuinely happy, relaxed and at peace in your life? Were you comfortable in your own skin, feeling safe in the world, connected to your truth, and living your passion and purpose? Were you deeply connected to and fully expressing your sexuality? Were you able to allow and honor all of your emotions?  Were you in love with yourself and your life? Did you wake up eager for your day? Were you able to set clear healthy boundaries? Did you feel joy and appreciation often? Were your relationships fulfilling? Were you aware of your needs and able to express yourself with confidence? Did you feel heard, seen, welcome and grateful to be alive? Were you having fun?

Or, were you putting a lot of pressure on yourself, judging yourself harshly, ignoring your own needs (physical, spiritual, and/or emotional), putting everyone else first, slightly perfectionistic, or frequently struggling with stress or anxiety? Were you trying to appear happy or together all the time?  Maybe you were in a job or relationship that wasn’t right for you – that didn’t allow you to be yourself. Maybe you weren’t enjoying sex or if you were you may not have felt safe to express your desires fully. Or maybe you just weren’t able to find, or didn’t think it was realistic for you to do, what really lights you up.

Even if you had/have what you considered to be a great life…..were you feeling happy in it?

If you can relate more to the second set of questions than the first………then it’s very likely that your pain is not ruining your life. It is actually trying to SAVE YOU.

And, it will if you learn how to understand it.

It will lead you right to where your soul wants to go.

That may be into a new relationship with yourself and your inner guidance, greater levels of confidence and connection, a new career, a new relationship (or showing up differently in an old one), a deeper spiritual connection, healing old trauma, developing new healthier ways of thinking and treating yourself, deep authentic happiness…..the possibilities are endless.

So, what is your body saying to you?

Chances are it’s saying something like,

“Pay attention and start living the life you are meant to live!

Stop ignoring yourself. Stop trying to be good, perfect, nice, or responsible. Stop being silent. And for goodness sakes stop trying to please everyone around you and start pleasing yourself.

Acknowledge your own value. You are a unique, beautiful, and powerful woman and you’re here for a reason. You have so much to offer. You matter.

Start honoring your emotions and your needs, speaking up, trusting your gut and tapping into your purpose.

You have a big beautiful life to live!

It’s time.

And, it’s the only way to get out of pain.”

Opening up the conversation……….

After many years of being disconnected from your body, it may take some time to develop a relationship where you’re able to hear and understand it’s messages.  Think of this process the same way you would think about learning any new skill that involves your body….like learning to ride a horse or play a new sport or a new instrument.

It takes time and practice.

Your mind and body need time to get it……to make new neural connections….learn new muscle movements….to read the horses signals, to hear when you hit the right note…….

So, don’t try this once (or even 50 times) and then give up if you don’t get answers…..

Sometimes they take a little while……but they will come.

What to do:

1. Connect to your body: notice your breath, breathe into your low belly, notice the sensations in your hands and feet. Scan your body and become aware of all the sensations that are in your body right now.

2. Tune in:  Tune into your pelvis….your vulva, vagina, and pelvic floor muscles, all the organs, muscles, and energy in your pelvic bowl. I mean really tune in. Open your heart to this part of your body that you’ve been struggling with for so long. Imagine sending it light and love.

3. Ask:  Once you feel connected ask these questions…one at a time, “What do you need? How are you here to help me? Do you have a message for me?”

4. Listen: sit still and listen deeply. Notice if anything pops into your mind. Don’t try to figure out if it makes sense or if you’re making it up. It may feel like you’re making it up. That’s normal at first. Just listen and observe. And wait. Wait for the answers to come. They will.

5. Write:  At the same time start really looking at your life and being honest with yourself – in writing. What was going on in your life before the pain started? How were you feeling emotionally? What else is going on in your life now – besides your pain? See what comes up.

Getting to know and understand your body is going to take some time, patience and observation. But it is sooooo worth it. You’re building a relationship that will serve you for the rest of your life….

A relationship with yourself.

And honestly, there isn’t anyone on the planet who’s more important for you to have a good relationship with.

As always, I’d love to hear from you!  Please feel free to share your questions, insights, reactions and comments below.

17 Comments

  1. Chara

    I love the clear way you lay this out, Lorraine. What a great article. You really express well how most of us think our unwell body is the problem, when usually it is our messenger, our teacher, and the communicator of crucial truths about life imbalance. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Chara. Thanks for reading and for your wonderful feedback!
      Love and Magic,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  2. Andrea

    Thank you for sharing the wisdom you have gained. I’ve just come to these conclusions with the help of a wonderful no-nonsense psychotherapist. It is quite humbling to acknowledge the depth of your unhappiness when you have spent so much of your life convincing yourself and others that you are fine and content with your circumstances. Being grateful, after all, is part of being happy and, more importantly, keeping others happy.

    It is exciting to see specific practical steps to help me engage my body’s voice directly. I will carefully consider the steps you advise and I will let you know how it goes for me. Thank you so much!

    I know this is a message that is hard to hear when you are not ready. I recommend that if you are still unsure or even feel offended by this blog entry that youallow yourself to sit with it and do an experiment: Ask yourself, IF it were true, and your body is really calling out to you from a place of deep love, what could it mean? Just IF. If it were true and rooted in love, what is possible?

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Andrea. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experience! The more women hear that this approach has worked for other women, the more likely they will be to try it for themselves. So I really appreciate your contributing! It is also really wonderful that you’ve found someone to help you do this work.

      It’s true that this can be hard to hear at first, which is part of the reason it took me a few months to listen to my own inner guidance and write this post! I love your recommendation. “If it were true and rooted in love, what is possible? This is so not about blame. It’s about learning how to step into our own power and live the outrageously joyful lives we are meant to live. We are actually on the cutting edge here. This isn’t something that many people learn how to do….and in learning how to do it for ourselves we become models of what is possible and can help shine a light to guide others.

      I would love to hear how trying these steps goes for you….and answer any questions that come up as you give them a try.

      Love, Magic, and Possibility,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  3. Gabriele Stamp

    Wow, I am reading this and nodding my head. So much of it hits home. Thank you for this valuable information. I will read it again and again. I will use this to get better. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Gabriele.

      I’m so happy that this is hitting home for you! You are very welcome. Thank you for reading and for your comments and feel free to post any questions that come up as you begin communicating with your body. You are on your way!

      Much love,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  4. Isabel

    Hi Lorraine,

    Thanks for your most recent post. Just a note to let you know how I’m doing after taking your course. My pelvic pain is so much better! Your course really hit the nail on the head for me about how my pelvic pain was related to the things that have happened and were happening in my life that led to my pain. I had always pushed these very sad thoughts and childhood memories in the background and refused to acknowledge them and the role that they were playing in my unconscious life. I have worked these things through with my psychotherapist and after about three months of weekly therapy sessions I finally started to feel physically better after almost a decade of pain.

    Thank you so much for your insight, encouragement, your reading lists, your experience, and your support. It has really meant the world to me.

    All my best.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Isabel.
      This is soooooo wonderful! I am doing a happy dance over here! Thank you for your openness to these new ideas and for taking them and applying them and doing the work to relieve your pain. It was an honor for me to be able to support you on your journey! Thank you so much for the update. WooHoo!!!!!!
      Lots of love,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  5. Amy

    Thank you for this one, Lorraine. Getting into the mind body work takes practice and I feel like it’s coming together now and getting a little easier to do. Thank you for your help and guidance!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Amy. You’re welcome. I’m so glad it’s coming together for you and getting easier. That’s wonderful! Thanks for your comment.
      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  6. kathy doherty

    Sounds interesting and inviting the way you express it!
    I’ve suffered very much from pelvic pain for several years. It had taken away what I thought was a pretty good life, and I so want that back. I have tried many interventions, but am still waiting for the severe pain to go! Tho ii’s hard for me to believe that this pain us trying to tell me something, I know there is a connection between my pain and my negative thinking and self talk…. would love to learn more and see how to reclaim my life again!
    Thank You. Hope to hear from you.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Kathy. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to hear from you! I completely understand that it’s hard to believe. This is not how we are taught to think about our health in this culture and it’s normal to think it sounds strange, or woo woo, or unbelievable. What I can tell you is that it absolutely was the case for me and the women I work with. So, it’s wonderful that you are open to learning more! If you’re interested, one great way to learn more would be on a free call I’m offering next week. You can learn more about that or sigh up here http://www.saygoodbyetopelvicpain.com I hope you can make it!
      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  7. Terri Catherine

    Hello Lorraine.
    I have recently found a new joy and purpose despite experiencing pelvic pain. I went for it. I was ready, because I had been working on the mind/body connection and I knew it was so important to find a a new, meaningful path that honored the gifts I thought I had lost to the my condition. I am writing and illustrating a children’s book, even though I have some physical limitations. I am o.k with making adaptations, and with going at my own pace, acknowledging the pain but not being stopped by it. I can do this! I am not just a woman living with pelvic pain. I am a woman surviving pelvic pain, listening to it’s messages, and living a fulfilling life. I am a woman who is getting in touch with deep emotional issues that are the root cause, and healing the physical and emotional pain. I am a woman who has been given a chance at a new life. Having a new life will bring health and wellness to my pelvic area and to my whole body and it will feed my soul. Thank you Lorraine, for your always helpful words and the joyful way you approach your work with yourself and with women like me.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Terri,

      Wow. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your story! I am so happy to hear that you have found and are following your new joy and purpose – and can’t wait to read your books (I hope you’ll share when you’re done)!!!! You absolutely can do it. You ARE doing it!! I love love love how you have redefined who you are as a woman and that you are using and sharing your gifts in this way (to some extent maybe as a result of the pain?). Yes. This absolutely will bring health and wellness to your pelvic area and your whole life – it can’t not. What a wonderful example you are for all of us on the mind body journey. I am grateful for your inspiration. Love and Blessings, Lorraine

      Reply
      • Terri Catherine

        Thank you Lorraine.

        I loved your response! Yes, I agree that the good that is happening now for me is partly because of experiencing the pain. I am a stronger person who has no time to waste! Doing things I would not have had the courage to do before. Getting in touch with the richness of experience that comes from delving into the depths of myself. From the suffering came the reaching for joy. The writing of the book is made possible through this and yes, I will very happily share it when it is done. And how did you know that I already have a second book in the planning stages? 🙂

        Thank you again Lorraine for sharing your healing presence and for your positive influence in my life.

        Terri

        Reply
  8. Susan

    How does one adapt this mindbody methodology when at least a portion of the pain IS being caused by a physical issue? I am 60 years old, and although my gynecologist finds nothing grossly wrong, nor any infections, fissures/tears, etc., I still have some normal-for-postmenopausal-women atrophy/ thinning of the urogenital tissues, which will feel stinginess when I am not faithfully using my estrogen cream. But now I seem to be feeling an over-reaction/hypersensitivity to the normal stinging. It oftentimes seems more like a burning pain, particularly when my pelvic floor is clenched during stressy times. Can this method still be used even if SOME of the pain response IS physically caused? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Susan,

      Yes. Absolutely! A mind body approach can be very effective even when symptoms are partially due to physical issues. Addressing the underlying mental and emotional component supports your body to heal whether it’s 100% mind body or not. And often my clients find that things they thought were physically based turn out to be mind body after all. For instance, not all thinning tissue causes burning and stinginess. Mind body syndromes can “attach” themselves to issues that we believe are physical (and are in fact physical, but don’t necessarily need to be causing pain or discomfort.) Make sense? Either way, learning how to calm stressful thinking and allow emotions to flow in a healthy way will calm the nervous system, decrease tension, increase circulation, and overall contribute to healing and relief! And there are no negative side effects – only the positive side effects of feeling more connected to yourself and comfortable inside your own skin, more confident, less stressed, etc etc etc. Thanks for reading and for your questions! Warmly, Lorraine

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This