What Is Dyspareunia

Struggling with Painful Intercourse? Help Is Here

Let’s talk dyspareunia.

As a pelvic health physiotherapist, I see numerous women in my clinic devastated by pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) and the emotional repercussions it can cause. For some, they have been to various practitioners prior to finding me and many hold the belief that there is little hope of resolution. Of course, this is not the case. There IS hope. And for many women, a cure!

Sexual pain is a sensitive and emotional subject, and it takes a lot of courage to seek help. To all the women that come forward to seek help I see you and recognise that it has not been an easy journey to lead you to this point. Therefore, it is so important to find a medical practitioner that is empathetic, listens to your concerns, and refers you to the necessary practitioners that will help you on your journey to recovery. More on this to come.

How Common Is Sexual Pain?

Sexual well-being is an integral part of a person’s overall well-being. Sexual difficulties can be taboo and hard for a woman to discuss and seek help for – and therefore, sadly often go untreated. Painful sex is also a common condition with prevalence globally varying from 10% to 18% and affecting up to 28% of the female population during their lifetime. 

what is Sexual Pain

What Is Dyspareunia/Sexual Pain?

The medical terminology is constantly changing, and dyspareunia (painful sex) is sometimes replaced with genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder. The pain can be superficial (pain in the vulva or entrance to the vagina) or deep (deep within the vagina), primary (pain initiated when first began sexual activity) or secondary (pain develops sometime after a period of pain-free intercourse).

Dyspareunia can lead to a multitude of issues, both physical and mental, and can have a serious impact on emotional well-being. It can lead to a lack of sexual arousal and desire, pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic/low back/hip pain, anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships, lack of self-worth and self-esteem, hypervigilance of pain, and negative self-image. Whoa! That’s a lot. Of course, not all women will experience each of these symptoms. 

Dyspareunia (Painful Intercourse)

What Is the Cause?

The cause of dyspareunia can be multifactorial and include structural, inflammatory, hormonal, traumatic, neoplastic (abnormal growth of tissue), and psychosocial factors. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to first seek help from a specialised, empathetic gynaecologist to obtain a correct diagnosis and referral to a pelvic health physiotherapist. 

While dyspareunia is a physical condition, it is important to note that it can be further compounded by social conditioning, cultural and religious belief systems, past experiences, and trauma – and these also need exploring when treating this condition.

Where to Start on Your Healing Journey?

Pain with intercourse can be very overwhelming and stressful for many women. Thankfully, there is no need to suffer in silence. As mentioned above, sexual pain is multifaceted and can be due to an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or vaginal prolapse for example.

Therefore, it is important to see a gynaecologist as the first point of call when experiencing pain for medical treatment of the condition. A referral to pelvic floor physiotherapy is a must, and we can help in many ways. Research has shown that physiotherapy is an underused and untapped resource when treating this condition, and experts conclude that it should be an integral part of the multidisciplinary approach to healing sexual pain.

My Approach

I believe in an intuitive and holistic approach to treating clients who experience painful intercourse. I look at the whole person – body, mind, and soul. I also have a great network of professionals that I work with and refer to. This may include psychologists, sex therapists, intimacy coaches, gynaecologists specialised in this area, pain management experts, and alternative therapists.

woman consulting a doctor

Physiotherapy Healing Journey

Physiotherapy treatment will firstly include pain education. Pain is a complex, multilayered perceptual experience that requires an explanation. As a sufferer, an inability to make sense of the often worrying and persisting uncertainties of pain, can cause increased sensitivity to pain and exacerbate the condition.

Knowledge is key, so it is proposed that pain education and training be provided about the nature and effects of pain and strategies on how to address the pain. The goal is to empower people to self-manage. However, pain education should be part of a larger holistic treatment approach, not a standalone treatment. 

pelvic floor

The pelvic floor muscles will also be addressed by your physiotherapist. Pelvic floor muscles refer to incredibly important muscles that sit at the base of your pelvis and run from the pubic bone to the tailbone and the sitz bones. They wrap around and have openings for the vagina, urethra (tube for urination), and anus. They support your pelvic organs, have many functions (including supporting your pelvic organs), and are extremely important for sexual function and sensation. 

An internal vaginal assessment by your pelvic health physiotherapist is advisable, but not required. This allows the physiotherapist to assess fully the vulva, vagina, pelvic floor muscles, connective tissue, nerves, and position of the organs (bladder, rectum, and cervix). This assessment is very discreet, performed in a private room and completely at your own pace and control. I understand that this is extremely daunting for many women and guarantee my clients complete control and autonomy. I ensure the full trust between the patient/therapist before any assessment or treatment and often engage the patient in breathwork, meditation, body scan, and/or energetic settling techniques before any internal vaginal assessment and treatment.  

Research has shown that most dyspareunia clients will have both weak and overactive/tight pelvic floor muscles. This will be addressed by the physiotherapist through gentle muscle-release techniques, biofeedback, graded touch, mirror use, and strengthening as required. Vaginal dilators are also very useful tools for overactive muscles. These are graded plastic or silicone cylinders that are gently inserted into the vagina to help stretch the tissue and prepare for intercourse. I teach the client how to use the dilator in the clinic, again empowering the client toward self-management.


I am also a qualified biodynamic craniosacral therapist and use this modality in my approach. This is a gentle hands-on technique that believes in the intelligence of the body to heal itself. Through craniosacral therapy, we can address the whole person – trauma, nerves, muscles, emotions, and connective tissue included – and help the body to integrate and settle. Sexual intercourse is a serious issue that needs addressing – do not suffer in silence! We are sexual beings and should be able to enjoy sex and the potent energy it illuminates within us.

Sexual pain is multifaceted and therefore requires a multilayered, multidisciplinary approach. Both the physical and mental aspects should hold equal priority. Firstly, make an appointment to see a gynaecologist to address the medical aspects. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is also a must. Addressing the emotional and energetic aspects, conditioning, belief systems, and trauma (if any) are of importance, too. Psychologists, sex therapists, alternative therapists, and intimacy coaches are just some of the wonderful disciplines I call on to support women on their healing journey.

Neasa Barry is a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at Heal Hub Rehabilitation Centre. Visit @herphysio and @healhub_rehab for more information.


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Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Crystal Water Bottles

Positively energised.

Crystal-infused water bottles have been gaining popularity among wellness enthusiasts in recent years. These bottles, designed to infuse water with the healing properties of crystals, enhance the energy and benefits of the water. Read more to learn how to use these unique bottles.

Different crystals are associated with different properties and energies. For example, amethyst is believed to promote peace and relaxation, while rose quartz, is with love and compassion. Research or consult with a crystal healer to determine which crystal would be most beneficial for you. It’s important to choose the right crystal for your needs.

All of us at Gaggler are obsessed with wellness, water, and the wonderful healing properties of crystals. Joining the club with the likes of Miranda Kerr and Victoria Beckham, we believe that crystals hold energy and are the gateway to physical and emotional benefits. While it is not scientifically proven, crystal-infused water may just be the placebo effect we are looking to incorporate into our healing.

Why Use Healing Crystals?

Healing crystals have been used for centuries by different cultures as a form of alternative healing. They are believed to have unique properties that can assist in the healing of physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments. In recent years, there has been a surge in popularity for these crystals, with people turning to them as a form of self-care and holistic healing. But what exactly are healing crystals made of, how do you select the best one for you, and how do you care for them?

What Are Healing Crystals Made Of?

Healing crystals are made of minerals that are found in the earth’s crust. These minerals are believed to have specific energetic properties that can affect our own energy fields. Crystals are formed from the cooling of molten rock (magma) or the evaporation of mineral-rich water. The minerals form into a crystalline structure, which is what gives each crystal its unique qualities. 

For example, amethyst is said to help with anxiety and stress, while rose quartz is believed to promote love and emotional healing. Some crystals, such as clear quartz, are said to have universal healing properties and can be used for a variety of purposes.

Selecting the Best Crystal for You

Selecting the right crystal for you is a personal and intuitive process. You may be drawn to a particular crystal based on its appearance or the way it makes you feel. Here are some tips to help you select the best crystal for you:

Research: Do some research on the different types of crystals and their properties. This can help you narrow your choices and find a crystal that aligns with your specific needs.

Trust your intuition: When selecting a crystal, trust your intuition. You may be drawn to a certain color or shape or feel a strong connection to a particular crystal. Listen to your instincts and choose the crystal that feels right for you.

Hold the crystal: Hold the crystal in your hand and feel its energy. Does it feel warm or cold? Heavy or light? Pay attention to the way the crystal makes you feel.

Ask for guidance: If you’re having trouble selecting a crystal, ask for guidance. Close your eyes and ask the universe to guide you to the crystal that is best for you.

Once you’ve chosen your crystal, start by cleansing it to remove any negative energy. You can do this by holding it under running water, smudging it, or placing it on a bed of salt. Next, fill your crystal-infused water bottle with fresh, filtered water for several hours or overnight. The longer the crystal is in the water, the more potent the infusion will be. Take a moment to set an intention for your water. This can be a simple affirmation or a specific goal you wish to focus on. In this way, you will direct the energy of the crystal-infused water toward a particular outcome.

To care for your crystal-infused water bottle, be sure to clean it with hot, soapy water. Avoid exposing the bottle to extreme temperatures or dropping it, as this can damage the crystal inside.

Benefits of Drinking Crystal-Infused Water

Water is a powerful cleanser and purifier. When a crystal is placed in water, the water molecules absorb the energy from the crystal, creating a vibrational imprint of the crystal’s energy in the water. This is because water is a highly receptive element that can absorb and transmit energy.

It has been scientifically proven that water has memory and can hold information in the form of vibrational frequencies. When a crystal is placed in water, its vibrational frequency is transferred to the water molecules, creating crystal-infused water that can be used for consumption. It is a simple and effective way to access the healing properties of the crystals and promote overall well-being.

Wellness in a Bottle

Crystal-infused water bottles are designed to help harness the power of crystals. Each crystal has its unique properties, and the water bottles are specifically designed to match the properties to the corresponding centers, also known as chakras, in the body. For example, the Rose Quartz crystal is known to promote self-love, compassion, and healing of the heart chakra, while the Amethyst crystal is known to enhance intuition and calmness.

Crystal-infused water bottles also provide physical benefits. For instance, many crystals are believed to have detoxifying properties and aid in removing toxins from your body. Some crystals are also believed to enhance the immune system or improve digestion.

A good quality crystal-infused water bottle is made from lead-free borosilicate glass, ensuring the water remains safe for consumption. The crystals are placed in the bottle, and the stainless steel and silicone seal keeps them securely in place. Fascinated by crystal-infused water bottles as much as we are? We have recommended a few below if you’re interested in incorporating crystal-infused water into your daily routine.


Aventurine Crystal Water Bottle

AED 280.00


Amethyst Crystal Water Bottle

AED 280.00


Rose Quartz Crystal Water Bottle

AED 280.00

Crystal-Infused water bottles are a recent trend that has rapidly gained popularity in the wellness community. While the scientific evidence supporting the claims made regarding their benefits is limited, many people who have used crystals, swear by them. Gaggler founder, Monica, started using crystals 2 years ago and is always seen with a stack of crystals on her wrist. Using a crystal-infused water bottle is a stylish and convenient way to stay hydrated throughout the day and explore the power of crystal healing, if wearing crystals isn’t for you.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians, medical practitioners, or industry experts, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Gaggler.


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