Sex should feel good… really, really good. But when it doesn’t, you may start to wonder, what’s wrong with me? Am I broken? Am I a prude? Am I frigid? Painful sex isn’t something we talk about. No one would look at you twice if you walked into work complaining of pain in your elbow, but if you walk into work complaining about pain in you vagina or penis, you may end up having a meeting with HR.
On April 13th, at 7pm, we at Beyond Basics are breaking down those taboos and having an educational seminar, followed by an optional question and answer session at the end. We will discuss the many causes of sexual pain and how physical therapy can help. The event will be hosted by one of our therapists, Stephanie Stamas, DPT, ATC. Stephanie will give a detailed seminar about pelvic health and take time to clear up some common misconceptions many people have concerning their bodies and sexual function.
On March 16, 2017 at 7pm we will be kicking off our spring semester of pelvic health education class, we call Pelvic Health 101 (PH101). In our first class we will be introducing you to the pelvic floor muscles, where they are, what they do, and how they relate to the health and function of your bowel, bladder, and sexual functioning. We will also be covering how things such as alignment, posture, muscle tone and nerves can affect your symptoms. This course is a great starting point to help you understand your pelvic floor and pelvic floor symptoms.
We have exciting news! Our very own physical therapist, Dr. Stephanie Stamas, will have the honor of interviewing Dr. Irwin Goldstein on the talk radio show, The Pelvic Messenger. Dr. Goldstein is an expert in sexual medicine and world-renown physician specializing in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and pain. He is currently the Medical Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, Director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Sexual Medicine and President of The Institute for Sexual Medicine.
Dr. Goldstein will be discussing the often-sensationalized topic of Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, or PGAD. The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) defines PGAD as “a persistent or recurrent, unwanted or intrusive, bothersome or distressing, genital dysesthesia (abnormal sensation) unassociated with sexual interest.” This condition has gotten more and more media attention over the past decade as several magazines have covered individual’s personal struggles. The most unfortunate aspect of PGAD is people perceptions of the condition as possibly “desirable.” Magazine headlines reading “I Have Orgasms All Day Long” misconstrue the fact that it is a pain condition and that the orgasms are painful, not pleasurable, which can be devastating.
There are several theories behind why this condition occurs, ranging from excessive sensory information from irritated nerves, tight pelvic floor muscles that can cause changes in the local nerves and genital tissues and/or a decreased inhibition of the central sexual reflex in the brain. Often, PGAD is a subset of a larger group of disorders known as Chronic or Persistent Pelvic Pain.
With over 35 years of experience, it will be an honor to pick Dr. Goldstein’s brain on diagnosing PGAD and effective treatment techniques that he has used in this patient population. To learn more about PGAD, make sure to listen in on Sunday, February 5th at 3 PM EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pelvicmessenger.
On December 1, 2012, Gretchen Molannen ended her life tragically after years of suffering from Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD). PGAD is a disorder where the individual experiences prolonged and intense periods of genital arousal. The symptoms may be relieved temporarily by stimulating an orgasm, however the symptoms usually return within several hours. Certain situations may trigger the symptoms, including riding in a car or cell phone vibration. For many, the discomfort associated with increased arousal progresses to pain, and those who suffer from PGAD often refrain from intercourse due to pain and/or shame. In addition, this condition interferes with many activities of daily living, such as attending to work related tasks and interpersonal relationships.
Unfortunately, researchers have limited information regarding the cause and treatment for PGAD. To date, it seems that there is a connection between PGAD and sensory nerve dysfunction. PGAD is also associated with pudendal nerve entrapments; nerve blocks have been used to treat PGAD with limited success. In some cases, PGAD may be related to pelvic arterial-venous malformation, in which case surgical intervention is indicated to correct the underlying issue. Antidepressants, antiandrogenic medications, and anesthetic gels have been prescribed to help alleviate the discomfort. However, “one of the problems with PGAD is a lack of knowledge. Many doctors don’t know about it and it’s not even recognized by the medical community as an official condition. Therefore any procedures that may potentially reduce the problems are not covered by insurance because there’s no code for PGAD. What’s more, it’s unknown how many women have the condition since many choose not to talk about it out of embarrassment” (quoted from the Ryan Jaslow’s article in CBS News; see link above). Furthermore, people experiencing PGAD may very likely benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. PGAD can increase sensory and motor nerve sensitivity, and it can create pelvic floor muscle tightness. This tightness can pull on the genital region and increase the symptoms of arousal and pain. Furthermore, the tightness can restrict and irritate the nerves in the pelvic region which results in hypersensitivity to the surrounding organs and in the general region. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help treat the musculoskeletal and nerve restrictions associate with PGAD.
Gretchen was courageous by sharing her story with the world. May her tragic story raise public awareness regarding the debilitating nature of this terrible disease thus spurring further research into appropriate treatment methods. May she rest in peace.