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Vaginal / Vulvar Health And E-Stim
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For an otherwise healthy woman, the constant nagging of vaginal or vulvar pain can be a highly draining experience. To make matters worse, these unrelenting feelings are happening in close proximity to the urethra. If you are prone to UTI's (urinary tract infections), it's easy to confuse vulvar pain with the onset of another UTI.
A bit of clarification...
The majority of people (especially men) refer to the entire assemblage of a woman's genitals as the vagina. In reality, the vagina is strictly the internal canal which makes intercourse and childbirth possible. The vulva are comprised of the mons pubis (the mound above the clitoris), labia majora (large lips), labia minora (small inner lips), clitoris, and the vestibule (the sensitive area immediately external to the vaginal entrance). The vulva are also known as the external female genitalia.
Clitoral atrophy: The shrinking and desensitization of the clitoris. This is usually associated with hormonal changes (such as hormonal birth control or menopause). It has been observed that clitoral atrophy is less likely to happen when you are sexually active.
Loss of vaginal muscle tone: Popularly referenced as a "loose" vagina. For women who have recently given birth, this is a frequent complaint. Loss of vaginal muscle tone also happens with age. This is not a condition to be taken lightly, because it can be a precursor to prolapse. With prolapse, an organ (or the vaginal walls) can become externalized, poking out of the vaginal entrance.
Painful intercourse: The medical term for this is dyspareunia. While there can sometimes be a psychological basis, many times this is a result of vulvodynia or vaginal atrophy.
Reduced vaginal lubrication: This is a frequent symptom of menopause, oftentimes occurring hand-in-hand with vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy: Reduction and thinning of vaginal tissue, often accompanied by thinning or loss of pubic hair. In most cases, this occurs with the lower estrogen levels brought on by menopause. As with clitoral atrophy, it has been observed that vaginal atrophy is less likely to happen when you are sexually active.
Vulvodynia: Pain which is caused by inflammation of the vulva, usually confined to the area around the vaginal entrance (the vestibule). Vulvar vestibulitis (VV) is a condition wherein you feel pain whenever you touch or apply pressure to the vestibule. Dysesthetic vulvodynia (DV) is a similar condition, but the pain is unprovoked. DV is almost always due to nerve inflammation, and it can occur with otherwise healthy tissue. There's a high correlation between chronic vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis.
How e-stim can make a difference
E-stim (also called electrotherapy) is the application of low-voltage current to the human body. The signal can be set to a desired frequency. Higher frequencies (75-150 Hz) offer significant pain modulation and reduction of inflammation. Lower frequencies (2-74 Hz) can trigger muscle contraction, offering a "stealth" exercise of a muscle during stimulation. If you would like a quick tutorial on e-stim, please read E-Stim In A Nutshell.
A particular aspect of e-stim that we shall be using to full advantage is the e-Kegel, which is based upon the traditional Kegel exercise. For more on Kegel's, please read Improve Your Kegel Exercises With E-Stim. In short, we will use low-frequency e-stim to accomplish the equivalent effects of a Kegel exercise regimen, hence the term "e-Kegel".
Let's address how e-stim might be used for each of the complaints mentioned previously:
Clitoral atrophy: A healthy clitoris, along with its associated nerves and tissues, requires ample genital blood supply. This is the major reason why women who have remained sexually active have a much lower incidence of clitoral atrophy. Perform e-Kegel's to help increase genital blood supply. High-frequency clitoral e-stim is also highly effective.
Loss of vaginal muscle tone: Loss of vaginal muscle tone is a classic by-product of a weakened pelvic floor. A strong regimen of e-Kegel's will assist in restoring pelvic floor muscle tone. If you have avoided organ prolapse, count your blessings and heed this early warning sign!
Painful intercourse: This condition can create a large chasm in a couple's relationship. To say the least, there's the Guilt / Desire Cycle. Your desire to be a good sexual partner requires a compromise with the pain that you will endure. He feels guilty because he knows his requests for intercourse create pain for you.
As stated previously, painful intercourse is often a result of an underlying condition: either vulvodynia or vaginal atrophy. While e-stim is an option for those conditions (see below), you need sufficient time to reduce the pain you are feeling. Ask your partner if he would be willing to adopt sexual e-stim as an outlet to help meet immediate needs. For a frank, detailed discussion of how you can continue to be a loving partner, read The Woman's Guide To Milking With E-Stim.
Reduced vaginal lubrication: For long-term improvement, e-Kegel's are highly recommended. As a prelude to intercourse, vaginal e-stim offers enhanced lubrication as a part of an excellent preparatory "warm-up". As a matter of fact, women of all ages take advantage of e-stim foreplay to become more receptive to intercourse.
Vaginal atrophy: To combat vaginal atrophy, e-Kegel's are a must! Just as with clitoral atrophy, your objective is a greater blood supply to the genital region. This enhanced blood supply will support the growth of new vaginal tissue. Additional high-frequency vaginal e-stim will improve the results.
Vulvodynia: As mentioned before, there are two types of vulvodynia. Vulvar vestibulitis (VV) triggers pain when you touch or apply pressure. Dysesthetic vulvodynia (DV) is associated with pain without any obvious cause.
In the case of VV, E-Kegel's can improve the underlying causes. Additionally, high-frequency e-stim can provide both pain modulation and reduction of inflammation. To the extent practical, the e-stim should be localized to the area of pain.
For DV, pain modulation is achieved through localized high-frequency e-stim.
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