Endometriosis is no easy walk in the park- in fact, it’s one of the most painful invisible conditions for women. It’s also one of the most missed conditions when women seek out medical help for painful sex, menstruation, and general pelvic pain.
What is Endometriosis?
Mayo Clinic defines Endometriosis as :
“Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.”
When this tissue grows outside of the uterus, it can cause painful adhesions of the tissues in the pelvis. Not only can this cause pain worse than childbirth, but it can actually cause disability.
“With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. But because this tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.”
Painful periods: cramping and actual pain within the pelvis can begin prior to a menstrual period and extend several days into the period. Lower back pain can accompany the cramping.
Pain with sexual intercourse: Discomfort during and after sex
Pain with bowel movements or during urination: Difficulty eliminating can be present
Excessive bleeding: Heavy periods or even bleeding between periods can occur
Infertility: Many times, women who are having difficulty conceiving will find out they actually have endometriosis when they seek infertility treatment
Fatigue, Diarrhea, Constipation, Bloating and Nausea: These symptoms—typical to an ordinary menstrual cycle—are also present during endometriosis.
Endometriosis and Sex
Since the endometrial tissues can grow into the lower part of the uterus and behind the vagina, ligaments and nerves can be greatly affected. Penetrative intercourse has been reported by 2/3 of women with endometriosis to be painful, uncomfortable, or not even possible.
Navigating penetrative intercourse may seem daunting when you’re suffering from Endo, but there are some tools to help. These tools are listed from our website, with plenty of information to help you.
Communication with Partner
Many times, thoughts of the condition can interfere with being intimate. It is helpful to talk to a sexual partner about concerns and share the knowledge that pain may occur. Having strategies of what to do if there is pain and helping a partner understand what they can do to help avoid any uncomfortable physical sensations can alleviate anxiety. Sharing the knowledge can add to relaxation and help reduce muscle tension.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sexual positions. A change in angle can help provide relief or mitigate some pain. Try using pillows or a sexual support device to prop the body.
Because endometriosis can flare up around a menstrual cycle, a good window of opportunity to enjoy sex is from the last day of a period until just before ovulation, then again after ovulation until a few days before the next period begins. Track your cycles and schedule time for intimacy.
Devices and Products
Products listed in this category include those that ease or minimize pain, allow the body to be in a comfortable position or avoid penetration or internal stimulation. Since the vaginal tissues may already be somewhat sensitive, it is important to use lubricant. This can help moisturize and ease friction that might otherwise irritate. It can also help moisturize sensitive tissues. Clitoral stimulation through a vibrator may be more comfortable than forms of penetrative sex, and can still be enjoyed by yourself or with a partner.
Our CBD infused lubricants have been a huge hit with women who suffer from painful sex. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory, helping soothe the vaginal and pelvic tissues to allow comfortable sexual stimulation for many. We recommend trying our newest Toto, which is also made of MCT oil and botanics. Utilizing devices like OhNut can help control the depth of your partner’s penetration, making penetrative sex accessible. Simply apply as many rings as you need over your partner’s shaft, combined with a good water based lube: beautiful!