Woman has sex with husband once a year due to pain which leaves her bedbound

Natalie Bricker was diagnosed with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder in 2018 which causes agonising pain and spasms in her vaginal wall and rectum.

The condition is so severe that the 35-year-old can be left bedbound for four days following sex and often has to hold an ice bag to help relive the pain down there.

She experiences spontaneous arousal every day, causing painful spasms which Natalie, from Delaware, US, describes as "being hit by a truck".

But despite the pain, the former care assistant still has sex with husband Robert, 38, once a year because she worries about the impact her health condition could have on her marriage.

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Natalie said: "Every time I feel pleasure or arousal, my muscles contract and spasm, and when I orgasm my pelvic muscles go into spasm.

"Whenever I get aroused my body goes into fight or flight mode. The pain becomes worse and worse. It makes even walking painful. Afterwards I get so itchy.

"If I tried to masturbate, I would get sharp stabbing pains around my clitoris, and if I would try to walk I would be in so much pain.

"I would have to hold an ice bag down there. My relationship with my husband has been difficult and I have a lot of insecurities."

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She continued: "Because we don't have intercourse often I do have insecurities about whether or not he would cheat on me.

"He's a good man, he married me knowing the issues I have and the barriers that creates for sex. We have sex once or twice a year, but I do it for my husband, I have to have a couple of drinks to get through it."

Natalie believes the condition is a result of a car accident 17 years ago where she injured her pudendal nerve, which is responsible for carrying messages from the external genitalia.

Although she appeared to be uninjured following the incident, it was after when sex with Robert, who was then her boyfriend, began to cause pain.

Then in 2014, which was 12 years after the crash, Natalie was diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia.

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She added: "After this accident, I couldn't have intercourse which put pressure on my relationship with him [Robert]. I have seen many doctors about this.

"I have seen pelvic pain specialists to psychiatrists. It makes you feel really horrible when people suggest it is all in your mind."

Natalie has since given up her career as a care assistant, explaining how she was "devastated" to leave such a rewarding role.

She would have intense pain every time she had a bowel movement and began suffering from panic attacks.

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Since her diagnosis, Natalie has undergone several treatments to help relieve her pain, including pudendal Botox injections and an injection to block messages to the pudendal nerve.

While these treatments have provided minor relief, Natalie is now working with a pelvic floor specialist which has reduced the pain from lasting 48 hours, instead of four days.

"Since the injections my life has gotten better. I can live my life without a fear of an attack. I can go for a daily walk," she explained.

"I can live my life without a fear of an attack. I have been working with a psychotherapist and journaling has been really helpful for me."

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But it's not her career and marriage which has been affected by Natalie's condition, the couple dream of having kids, but with the disorder it has made it very difficult for them.

Natalie concluded: "I always wanted children with my husband and have been through IVF. But my condition has meant it's been more difficult.

"My husband has a condition also which means we can only conceive through IVF, but because I've been unwell we haven't tried again.

"If it doesn't work we might consider fostering or adopting. Robert is such a good man, he married me knowing the issues I have and the barriers that creates for sex and I love him for that.

"I feel like I'm missing out on a part of my life and I just have to hope that things will only get better."

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