Benefits of Massaging Your Vagina
Our pelvic floors are composed of 15 different muscles. More when you count the named muscles that are duplicated on both the left and right! These are designed to support our pelvic organs; preventing prolapses, steadying our gait, and preserve the integrity of our core. Any and or all of these can become over or under active which can cause imbalance in the pelvic bowl leading to dysfunction. Vaginal/Pelvic Floor massage can help to care for these important muscles. Below are 7 benefits of adopting this self massage practice (click to view the self massage protocol).
1) Decrease Vaginal/Pelvic Pain
- Vaginal pain and pelvic pain can be caused by a host of issues so it is important to see your gynecologist or other women’s health practitioner if symptoms begin. Even once you find a diagnosis, the underlying cause can often remain a mystery. It is my experience that in these situations a muscular imbalance can be the culprit. Massaging the pelvic floor muscles will stimulate the nerves signalling to the brain that overactive muscles can calm and underactive muscles should excite.
-You can also directly address trigger points which are defined as tender points in an extremely hypertonic muscle inside a band of already contracted muscle, more commonly known as knots. Trigger points can refer pain, or create pain in tissue that seems unrelated to the source of the problem. While a pelvic PT or other women’s health practitioner who does internal work will help you to address these issues with manual therapy and massage, knowing how to release your muscles at home can greatly speed your recovery.
2) Decrease Sexual Pain
- Because pain during sex has such a huge emotional impact, it deserves specific consideration. Massaging the pelvic floor allows you to approach an area of great sensitivity in exactly the way you need because no one will ever know what you are feeling better than you do. Self massage provides a safe space in which you can discover exactly which tissues produce the most pain and allows you to address those specific spaces in your pelvic floor muscles at depths and pressures that are perfect for your needs. Even more importantly, vaginal massage gives you the opportunity to find areas that do not produce pain. This discovery can be extraordinarily encouraging and create boatloads of hope in a situation that can often feel impossible.
-Your PT or women’s health practitioner may have suggested the use of dilators to help to relieve pain during sex. These can be very helpful, but there are massive advantages to using your hands especially when first starting your care when your pelvic floor muscles are most hypertonic. With your hands you will be able to release tight tissue externally, working up to the intravaginal work, increasing your vagina’s stretch ability gradually.
3) Increase Body Awareness
- Along the same lines, pelvic floor massage integrates an awareness of your pelvic bowl into the complete mental picture of your body. Our pelvic space is often culturally sexualized or taboo. It is rare that we get the opportunity to acknowledge our genitalia as a natural part of our whole. When this state is achieved, we can experience a heightened level of body freedom. It also allows us to be more attuned to changes in our pelvic floor and therefore in our entire abdominopelvic cavity. Being more aware of these changes means you can take corrective action early in the event that your pelvic floor muscles shift toward imbalance or you sense other health concerns arising.
4) Prevent and Improve Prolapse
- Like pelvic and vaginal pain, many factors contribute to the development of prolapse. A prolapse occurs when an organ slips from its usual positioning and begins to fall out of the body. Prolapse can be uterine, bladder, or rectal. It is important to see a doctor to diagnose a prolapse and to consider all treatment options.
-Pelvic floor massage can help prevent prolapse by priming the pelvic floor muscles to be at their most optimally adaptive. This means they will be able to accommodate changes in intra abdominal pressure, movement, pregnancy, and any other fluctuations the body may experience. Massaging the pelvic floor may also help to reverse a prolapse in the early stages. In later stages, it can be palliative, decreasing the urgency and severity of the symptoms so decisions on more invasive treatments such as surgery can be made with a clearer mind.
5) Improve Incontinence
- Weak bladder and rectal muscles are major causes of urinary and fecal incontinence - or the inability to voluntarily control urination or defecation. While the causes of those weaknesses are varied (I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here), healthy, flexible pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and the rectum. Increasing or decreasing the muscle tone will allow for greater support. Making those changes in the pelvic floor may decrease or reverse incontinence.
6) Prevent Anal Fissures and Hemorrhoids
- Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in the anus or rectum. Anal fissures are small tears in the anal walls. Both cause bleeding, pain/discomfort, and are caused by difficulty passing a bowel movement either due to hard stools or excess straining as well as a few other factors. Part of the issue is sometimes that the anal sphincter muscles contract unevenly when they are hypertonic (too tight). While other measures will most likely be necessary for complete healing, massaging the anal sphincter so it is able to function more optimally, releases more evenly, can be preventative and aid in the healing process for existing fissures and hemorrhoids.
7) Overall Vaginal/Pelvic Health
- Even if you have no pelvic health issues, self massage is a wonderful wellness tool. Imbalanced muscles in any
area of the body can lead to dysfunction. Imbalances in the muscles of your core can be especially impactful. Working with your body to maintain the flexibility and adaptability of your pelvic floor muscles will ensure whole body adaptability.
As you can see, self massage of the pelvic floor can create greater health and body freedom. Combining this self care with professional work such as Arvigo Therapy® or other bodywork targeted to the abdomen and hips can greatly enhance the effectiveness for all of the above mentioned benefits. To learn more about other tools and techniques that can improve your specific issue, contact your women’s health practitioner. To speak with me directly, call (856) 857-7535 or leave questions in the comments section below!