Too often we care providers don’t ask questions about sex. Sexual dysfunction is common. Two excellent books:
Better Sex through Mindfulness by Lori Brotto
Come as You are by Emily Nagoski.
Women’s College Hospital created the Female Sexual Health Portal.
If you have a painful bladder, or burning and/or frequent urination, (need to urinate often), or have lower abdominal or pelvic pains, or have been diagnosed often with bladder infections only to find out from your doctor a few days or weeks later that it was not a bacterial infection, you may have Interstitial Cystitis.
Infection causes inflammation. There are other causes of inflammation, including injury, connective tissue disease, and even anxiety and PTSD cause inflammation. Check out the Limbic System. Inflammation can even cause blood in the urine. See your health care provider for this.
Doctors will often check urine in their offices or in the E.R. and the dipstix can show white cells, even blood. This does not mean you have an infection. Follow the doctors advice but be sure to get a culture of the urine to see if it is infection or inflammation. It takes a few days to confirm an infection.
If you have IC then avoid cranberries as they can make inflammation worse.
Click on the video below. I am not so sure of the herbal medicine he talks about, but the explanation is great.
More information about Interstitial Cystitis: Interstitial Cystitis Association
Many women have itching around the vulva. Sometimes women then worry they may have a yeast infection. Often it is actually lichen sclerosis. This is inflammation around the vulva. It can be treated with anti-inflammatories. This is the one that physicians advise patients not to worry about using cortisone regularly. If you don’t treat the condition, your vaginal opening can close up a bit, making intercourse difficult and painful. Do see your physician to have the area examined.
Another site for Intersitial Cystitis
Vulvodynia is a painful burning or tenderness around the vulva area. Here is a link from my blog about Vulvodynia.
Vulvar and Vaginal health
Wear cotton panties only. No thongs. No nylon panties even with gussets. Do not wear panties to bed at night.
Use Dove or other mild unscented bath soap bar
Mild laundry soap. No detergent. No fabric softeners. No dryer sheets.
No bubble bath.
No hot tubs.
No scented lubricants, or sexual accessories
Use tampons with caution
Use care when shampooing hair in shower. Shampoo is very irritating. Roll up a facecloth and place between legs if you are shampooing and until after rinsing hair, and then toss facecloth in the laundry.
Can try probiotics like Acidophillus. Yoghurt or similar.
If you have urinary incontinence, avoid caffeine in ‘ordinary’ tea, coffee, chocolate. Try these exercises.
If you have pelvic pain, try these exercises. They could help interstitial cystis and vulvodynia.
Prolapse of the uterus or bladder or rectum is common in older women. What is prolapse? Check out the video. Use Kegel exercises and there are pelvic floor exercises above.