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what experts want you to know about pelvic pain
How do you know that pelvic pain treatment is finally getting the recognition it deserves? Coverage like this from Vogue is one sure sign. When Anne Lora Scagluisi reached out to me for this article I was of course excited to be able to speak directly to the Vogue readership about how to reverse pelvic pain for not only a better sex life but a better overall sense of well being. That said, here are some excerpts from the article. There will be a link to the full article at the end.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

What Experts Want You to Know About Pelvic Pain

With women’s health concerns often brushed under the carpet by society, there is no better time to get health authorities’ attention and start an honest conversation. A recent survey found that more than four in five women were not listened to by healthcare professionals.

Many women reported that their symptoms were not taken seriously, that they had to persistently advocate for themselves to secure a diagnosis, and if they did secure a diagnosis, there were limited opportunities to discuss or ask questions about treatment options.

According to an article published in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology, women with chronic pelvic pain use three times more medication, have four times more surgery and are five times more likely to undergo hysterectomy than women without the condition.

So in short, mainstream medicine not only has trouble diagnosing pelvic pain issues, but when they do reach a diagnosis their blanket approach is often either pills or the knife - or both. At Femina Physical Therapy, we believe there are often better solutions that don’t involve drugs or surgery, with treatments tailored to each individual depending on not only the diganosis but other factors such as diet, lifestyle, history of injuries, and the woman’s particular symptoms:

Symptoms of pelvic pain

Los Angeles-based Dr Heather Jeffcoat, President of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy and Advisory Board at International Pelvic Pain Society, lists nine symptoms of pelvic pain:

  1. Nausea and vomiting
  2. Severe or chronic constipation
  3. Bladder pain (also presents as urinary frequency and formerly known as interstitial cystitis)
  4. Rectal pain
  5. Heavy periods with clots larger than the size of a Singaporean 20 cent piece
  6. Extreme bloating
  7. Missing school or work because of pain
  8. Painful tampon insertion or penetrative intercourse
  9. Painful orgasm

With a myriad of potential causes and symptoms, it’s no wonder that practitioners who are not specifically trained in pelvic health can sometimes dismiss and/or misdiagnose certain symptoms? From the article:

A misdiagnosis often leads to a delay in care. Endometriosis has an average of 11 years from first symptom until formal diagnosis. A lengthy delay like this can lead to long-term changes in the central nervous system—a process known as central sensitisation.

The difference between acute and chronic pain is that when we have a temporary instance of acute pain, our body can disassociate itself from the threat, and therefore our brain does not really have to process much beyond the moment of pain followed by the resolution.

When we have chronic pain however, our body can’t continue to ignore the ongoing threat (e.g. endometriosis or other chronic pelvic pain) and our brains are continually processing this pain input. This phenomenon can turn lingering pain into becoming unbearable which can be exacerbated by such things as riding a bike, wearing tight jeans, etc. Additionally, the pain can spread to a larger area. So the longer the pain goes on, the more important it becomes to discover the underlying causes of the pain and seek proper solutions.

Click here for the full article on what experts want you to know about pelvic pain, or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Jamie M.

I have been going to see Heather for a while now, and I can't tell you enough how much she has improved my quality of life. Heather specializes in issues like pelvic floor, but I see her for other orthopedic issues.

I have a lot of chronic joint pain and dysfunction issues (back, hips, neck) that require that have ongoing physical therapy maintenance. The effects of my problem joints/areas overlap and interconnect with each other in complex ways, so helping me requires really having a complete understanding of the entire skeletal and muscular system. Pain does not always appear where the problem actually is, the human body is a twisty, many-layered puzzle. I have an exercise program I do at home and I am very functional, but there are just something things I need a PT to help me out with.

Read more: Testimonial by Jamie M.

Testimonial by M.M.

My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

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