Pain Down Under: There is Help!

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Do you have pain "down there?" Ugh. Is there anything worse? Not only does the location leave little to be desired, but who the heck can you talk to about it?

According to a review published in Pain Physician in 2014, anywhere from 5.7 percent to 26.6 percent of women suffer from chronic pelvic pain. Another study showed that 61 percent of women with chronic pelvic pain did not know the cause of their pain. More than half of the women with chronic pelvic pain limit their daily activities, and 90 percent have pain with intercourse (dyspareunia). The goal of Grand Rapids OB/GYN is to help get the word out that it's OK to ask about this!

A few common causes of pelvic pain and dyspareunia include postmenopausal vaginal dryness due to lack of estrogen, endometriosis, genital and sexual pain disorders of the vulva, interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction or muscle spasm, and skin conditions of the vulva. Often, a multidisciplinary approach is most helpful to address not only the notable pain, but also the upregulation of nerve pathways, the muscular tissue that becomes hyperactive, and the related stress, anxiety and depression due to chronic pain.

Unfortunately, for those of you who have already asked, you may have run into a few obstacles on your journey to becoming pain-free. But if pain is still an issue for you, please take the liberty to advocate for yourself and ask again. Ask your family doctor, ask your gynecologist, ask anyone who will listen. Women often suffer in silence due to embarrassment or previous treatment difficulties. But what if it wasn't embarrassing? And what if the person we asked either knew how to help us or knew where to send us in order to get proper treatment? What if it helped not only our healthy sense of self, but our productivity at work and at home, our ability to exercise, ride a bike and use a tampon if necessary, and our relationship with our partner? We chose this field because we believe we can help people. So bring it on!

This article was contributed courtesy of Grand Rapids OB/GYN. Click here to learn more about this topic and treatment options.

Other helpful resources include: Pelvicpain.org | Vaginismus.com | Isswsh.org | menopause.org


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