Pain with sex is not just part of being a mom


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“Nobody in the history of relaxing has ever relaxed when someone says relax.” -Dr. Melanie Struzzi Sutton

Did you know that physical therapists can help with things like pain with sex, bladder leaking, IBS, recovery after pelvic cancer, and lymphedema? Well, you do now.


Dr. Melanie Struzzi Sutton is a PT with certifications in women’s health pelvic floor, lymphedema, and oncology. Melanie shared her wealth of knowledge in this episode of the All Out Motherhood podcast as we chatted about her experiences with treating women’s health patients.


Have you ever had pain or discomfort with sex? I’ll be the first to admit it- yes, I have. Sometimes it’s a one time occurance that is quickly remedied with a position change or some lubrication. Other times….it doesn’t go away.

Pain during sex can occur at any time during a women's life, even from the start. However, it is frequently begins after giving birth (yes, even after a c-section).

There’s a stigma society has created around this topic even though 9/10 women experience pain with sex after having a baby and it persists in a quarter of those women after 18 months. This is not ok.

Women should not feel ashamed or embarrassed that something hurts them, especially sex. For decades, women have suffered in silence for fear of being judged. When you talk to some women who have experienced pain for years they will say things like:

“It’s just not something you talk about.”

“I must be broken.”

“I was too embarrassed to ever tell anyone.”

“I should be able to deal with it for my partners sake.”


“No one ever asked me”

Screening for these issues is something that should be routine during our health checkups and we should feel comfortable talking with our providers about these topics. Especially, for postpartum women- whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section.

It’s not ok that we still have women that hear things like “just relax, sex always hurts after baby” or “take a shot of alcohol, it’ll help” from their providers. Some women end up ‘just dealing’ with the pain for decades because they think it is normal and just a part of life now.

Yes, some pain after baby may be normal, especially if you are still healing. It takes time, especially depending on how your birth went. Just because you got the all clear at your 6 week check up doesn’t mean you are completely healed and ready to jump back in the sack like before.

*It’s important to note that as we get older, our hormones do shift and dryness may become an issue that contributes to or causes pain. Something as simple as finding a quality, non-toxic lubricant may be the solution, but if that doesn’t fix it- talk to your provider.

It’s always good to see a pelvic physical therapist after giving birth even if you had no complications, tearing, trauma, etc. Pelvic PTs can give you individualized recommendations based on your specific needs and check for things that might cause problems in the future. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to have a full internal exam. There are plenty of things to still talk about and address externally.

There’s a mental, emotional, and obvious physical toll that this can have on women as well. It can affect our marriage, our self-esteem, our mood, and in turn our children.

If you are experiencing pain, please talk to your provider. If you happen to have one that just doesn’t want to listen, then feel free to message me and I’ll help you locate one in your area who will!

Looking for a pelvic health professional? Try here first.

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