Sexual Dysfunction & Pain

At Harmony Ottawa, you will learn:

  • About the underlying drivers of pain in your tissues.

  • How the brain and nervous system are involved.

  • How to systematically retrain the brain and body.
    To abolish pain and

    experience pleasure.

  • Why your sexual health is incredibly important.

Harmony Ottawa can help you with:

  • Primary or secondary vaginismus.

  • Provoked or unprovoked vulvodynia.

  • Pain with intercourse postpartum.

  • Pain with superficial or deep penetration.

  • Difficulty with or pain with orgasm.

Harmony Ottawa Women's Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is ideal for:

  • Women who have painful intercourse or who have never been able to have intercourse

  • Women who experience heaviness, burning, irritation or pain following sexual activity

  • Women who have been diagnosed with a penetration condition or with dyspareunia

  • Women with who have difficulty with orgasm or oversensitivity/pain during or after orgasm

Physiotherapists at Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa are experts in managing sexual dysfunction and offer treatment to help women with sexual issues, painful intercourse, nerves conditions, and other related physical and psychological difficulties


Sexual dysfunction is a general term including a large range of various sexual issues women may encounter. Dyspareunia, or pain during sexual intercourse is the most common sexual condition suffered by women. But sexual dysfunctions can also include reduced sensations or persistent sensations of arousal.


There are many reasons why intercourse can cause pain, which can be physical as well as psychological ones, following surgery, childbirth or due as well to other various conditions (hormonal, infections, endometriosis, prolapse, muscles spasms…)


Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa are Experts in managing painful sex and sexual dysfunction, in conjugation with your Medical team 


At Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa, our physiotherapists expert in women’s health will be able to provide you the best advice and treatments to manage and reduce your pain during sex or lack of sexual sensations. They have years of experience in women’s health physiotherapy and are experts in women’s sexual dysfunctions and pelvic treatments.

Women’s health sexual dysfunction pelvic physiotherapy assessment and treatment in Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa for women with painful intercourse and pelvic pain


Harmony Ottawa Physiotherapists will primarily assess the pelvic floor muscles (its resting tone, strength, the range of movement including both the contraction and the release phase). They also assess the muscles around the pelvis (both internally and externally) and may take measurements and assess the functional control of the pelvic floor (including coughing, pushing and drawing in), complemented by an EMG biofeedback assessment, if necessary. From this assessment, Harmony Ottawa Women’s health physiotherapists will tailor specific exercises and treatment programs to treat you in a gentle and efficient way.



What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a general term including diverse sexual issues suffered by women such as reduced sensations, pain with intercourse or persistent sensations of arousal.

Pain with intercourse or Dyspareunia can also be called Vaginismus, chronic pelvic pain or Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder (GPPD). It can also occur secondary to a condition called Vulvodynia.



What are the different kinds of sexual dysfunction?

  • Pain with intercourse

  • Reduced sensation with intercourse

  • Inability to achieve an orgasm during intercourse

  • Inability to achieve penetration

  • Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD)


What are the different causes of sexual dysfunction & painful intercourse?

There are various reasons why sexual intercourse can cause pain, including (but not limited to):

  • Infection

  • Skin condition

  • Endometriosis

  • Hormonal changes (pre and post-menopausal)

  • Cancer (and treatments associated with, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy)

  • Pelvic organ prolapse

  • Dryness

  • Nerve conditions

  • Fear

  • Involuntary tensing/spasm of the pelvic floor muscles

  • Scar tissue

  • Changes to the anatomy after childbirth


Some women can suffer from reduced sensation, urinary leakage or inability to achieve orgasm with intercourse. This can occur after childbirth or surgery.

Other women can have as well persistent genital arousal symptoms.



What are the symptoms of sexual dysfunction?

  • Inability to achieve penetration

  • Pain inside the vagina, around the vulva or around the pelvis (including muscles and joints)

  • Reduced sensation with intercourse/inability to achieve an orgasm

  • Persistent arousal symptoms


How does pelvic physiotherapy help sexual dysfunction and pain during sex?


Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa women’s health physiotherapists complete a full assessment then forms an individual treatment plan depending upon the assessment findings and your unique needs.


The Pelvic Health physiotherapist will assesses the pelvic floor muscle and the muscles around the pelvis (internally and externally). There is also the possibility to measure and assess the functional control of the pelvic floor.


Usually, an assessment will also look at the hips, pelvis, and spine. If there is tension through the pelvic floor muscles, or if you are struggling with the coordination of a contraction (including the correct breathing patterns), the physiotherapist can assist.


Treatment plans may include:


  • Pain management advice and education around your condition

  • Manual release of the muscles around the pelvis (including external and internal muscles)

  • Teaching you to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles through a full range of movement

  • Nerve gliding techniques

  • Advice around managing stress and anxiety (and referring on as needed)

  • Exercises modifications and recommendations/teaching correct breathing mechanics and patterns which can alter the pelvic floor contractile patterns


Pelvic physiotherapy’s aim is to get you managing this at home between sessions, so the physiotherapist may teach you various self-release and desensitization techniques (sometimes utilizing dilators, therawands, electrical stimulation, TENS and biofeedback machines), breathing and meditation exercises stretch and strengthening exercises. If they suspect an infection, serious pathology or skin conditions, they can also guide you to the appropriate specialist for further assessment and management.


What are the benefits of Pelvic Physiotherapy Rehabilitation at Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa?


Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa Physiotherapists will assist in empowering you in self-managing your conditions. Harmony Pelvic Physiotherapists can assist with reducing pain or relieving pain with intercourse, improving the pelvic floor muscle’s range of movement, mobility or strength as needed. With this, many women get an increase in sensation and learn more about how to use their pelvic floor to assist with intercourse.

When shall I consult my Pelvic Physiotherapist at Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa?

If you are struggling with painful intercourse, reduced sensation or persistent arousal, you should contact our women’s health team. If you are unsure about seeing a women’s health physiotherapist, please call/email us and one of our therapists can answer your questions.


Will the assessment involve an internal check-up of the vagina and pelvic floor?


Most often yes, you will need an internal examination to assess the area, but this may not be the case. The first part of the appointment will be getting to understand your condition and asking questions. Please let your physiotherapist know if you are not comfortable having an internal examination. You can also feel free to bring a friend or companion with you for your Pelvic Physiotherapy sessions.