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Female Pelvic Pain Is A Silent Epidemic & Millions of American Women Want To Know Why

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There is a silent female health epidemic that no one is talking about. This epidemic is cloaked with shame, misunderstandings that are rampant in the medical community and neglected by research. This condition can affect a woman’s ability to function and live her life fully and completely. It can affect her bladder, bowel, and sexual health and it’s so poorly understood that women often have to see 3-5 doctors before they get a diagnosis for it. This disease is called pelvic pain.1

It is estimated that 30 million women in the United States are suffering from chronic pelvic pain. This means that 30 million women are suffering from incapacitating and distressing symptoms such as incontinence, pain with sex, weak/non-existent orgasms, pelvic organ prolapse or persistent pain, burning from below the belly button to the bottom of the pelvis.1,2,3

Women who suffer from chronic pelvic pain find themselves suffering in silence, despondent, depressed and anxious. Many complain about low libido and difficulties in their sexual relationships4,5,6.

Who wouldn’t be depressed, if every time you sneezed, jumped or laughed you dribbled urine, or if lovemaking caused you so much pain that you avoided the person you love the most, or if little things like lifting your kids/grandchildren or carrying groceries increased pressure so much inside your pelvis that you held back from an active life and doing the things that bring you joy.

We have been sold a bill of goods. There’s a belief that the only solution for our “lady parts” problems is through surgeries, medications or pills, and it’s not our fault that we have been trained to think this way.

After 14,704 pelvic healings, I have seen women who’ve received trial drugs, Botox injections to their vagina, and sling and mesh surgeries that don’t work. The truth is that the side effects of these medications and surgeries are many times worse than the symptoms the women were originally feeling7.

In my NYC healing center, women report to me that their doctors have poo-pooed their symptoms and that their doctors have told them “your pain is in your head,” or “go home, relax and have a glass of wine and the sex will be better.” As a matter of fact, research has shown that women are often marginalized, discriminated against, stigmatized and experience gender bias treatment when they seek health care for pain and female-related conditions8.

There’s much misunderstanding among doctors because typically the lady parts in women who suffer from chronic pelvic pain look normal. Chronic pelvic pain accounts for 40% of all gynecologic laparoscopies and up to 15% of women of all women go to their doctors because of chronic pelvic issues. So women are doing the hard work to find answers to their female problems, but the health industry is falling short. Doctors are seldom taught about the pelvic floor in medical school, so they often lack the education and expertise to help these women naturally.9 Even the most astute doctors overlook the real culprit of women’s pelvic pain, leaking, prolapse and abdominal pain… “the pelvic floor muscles.”

Our pelvic floor muscles or vaginal muscles are highly innervated, vascularized and are vulnerable to the same injuries that all other muscles in our bodies are susceptible to. The pelvic floor muscles are involved in what I call the 5 functions of life. They support our organs, close off our urinary sphincters, enhance sexual function, stabilize our hips and spine and act as a sump pump for the pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles or the vaginal muscles are also the deep connectors to the upper and lower extremities and when there’s an issue with them, such as scaring from births, episiotomies, spasms, trigger points or they are too weak or too tight, they can contribute to symptoms such as urinary and fecal incontinence, sexual pain, pelvic organ prolapse and low to non-existent orgasms10.

Research has shown that very few doctors, during routine gynecological exams, perform a digital exam of the pelvic floor muscles, the area where the women are experiencing most of their pain and symptoms11.

Here’s the truth – your pelvic floor can be rehabilitated through self-healing techniques and tools that include massages, exercises, yoga, and meditation and mindfulness training.(12,13). The Center For Disease Control and National Institutes of Health recommend therapies such as pelvic floor muscle training as the first line of defense for leaking and pain14,15.

As someone who suffered from chronic pelvic pain and leaking after the birth of my child, I knew I had to change the dialogue around pelvic healing. I educated myself and read hundreds of research papers and books. I had to do this type of self- education even after spending three years in physical therapy school where I learned nothing about female pelvic healing. I had to go deep into my own pelvic floor healing to find natural ways to heal myself from my own debilitating condition.

You might be thinking how did she do it? I healed myself through natural therapies such as pelvic massages, exercises, breath work, yoga, meditation, bodywork, and mindfulness. We all know the value of eastern medicine and also know that traditional physical therapy works for many diverse types of muscular problems. Therapies such as yoga, mindfulness, massage, naturopathy and acupuncture can also be applied to lady parts healing with tremendous success16. The great news is that with the proper guidance you can learn how to do the massages, exercises and techniques on your own and conquer your pelvic floor condition naturally, and become the most amazing and pain-free version of yourself.

Join me on June 12th for a complimentary live webinar “Female Pelvic Power Formula, 5 Steps to Healing Leaking, Sexual Pain and Prolapse Naturally.” Learn tips and tools you won’t find anywhere else. It’s simply your birthright to understand your divine female anatomy. And it’s time you claimed it.

Click here to sign up!

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1 – Harlow BL, Kunitz CG, Nguyen RHN, et al. Prevalence of symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of vulvodynia: population-based estimates from 2 geographic regions. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014;210:40.
2- Mathias SD1, Kuppermann M, Liberman RF, et al. Chronic pelvic pain: prevalence, health-related quality of life, and economic correlates. Obstet Gynecol. 1996;87(3):321–327.
3 – Reed BD, Harlow SD, Sen A, et al. Prevalence and demographic characteristics of vulvodynia in a population-based sample. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012;206:170.1–9.
4 – Arnold LD, Bachmann GA, Rosen R, et al. Vulvodynia: characteristics and associations with comorbidities and quality of life. Obstet Gynecol. 2006;107:617–624.
5 – Nickel JC, Tripp D, Teal V, et al. Sexual function is a determinant of poor quality of life for women with treatment refractory interstitial cystitis. J Urol. 2007;177(5):1832–1836.
6 – Gerrits MM, van Oppen P, van Marijk HW,et al. Pain and the onset of depressive and anxiety disorders. Pain. 2014;155:53–59
7 – Pacik PT, Understanding and Treating Vaginismus: A Multiimodal Approach. Int Urogynecol J. 2014 Dec;25(12):1613-20. doi: 10.1007/s00192-014-2421-y. Epub 2014 Jun 4.
8 – Doing Harm, Maya Dusenbery. New York: Harper Collins, 2018.
9 – Paulson JD, Delgado M. Chronic pelvic pain: The occurrence of interstitial cystitis in a gynecological population. Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. 2005;9(4):426–430.Retrieved from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015651/?tool=pubmed.
10. Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 41e by Susan Standring PhD
11. Kavvadias T, Baessler K, Schuessler B. Pelvic pain in urogynaecology. Part I: evaluation, definitions and diagnoses. International Urogynecology Journal. 2011;22(4):385–393. doi: 10.1007/s00192-010-1218-x. [PubMed]
12. Crisp CD, Hastings-Tolsma M, Jonscher KR. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for military women with chronic pelvic pain: a feasibility study. Mil Med. 2016;181(9):982-989. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00354
13. van der Kolk BA, Stone L, West J, et al. Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014; 75(6):e559-65. doi:10.4088/JCP.13m08561
14. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016 Recommendations and Reports / March 18, 2016 / 65(1);1–49
15. NIH State-of-the-Science Conference: Prevention of Fecal and Urinary
Incontinence in Adults December 10-12, 2007 Bethesda, Maryland
16. Goldfinger C, Pukall CF, Thibault-Gagnon S, et al. Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and physical therapy for provoked vestibulodynia: a randomized pilot study. J Sex Med. 2016; 13(1):88-94. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2015.12.003

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Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS is a New York City-based holistic women’s pelvic floor specialist, author of 5 books on pelvic health, including the 2017 international bestseller Female Pelvic Alchemy and the ground-breaking self-help book, Ending Female Pain, A Woman’s Manual. She has dedicated her career to advancing awareness of pelvic floor conditions so that more women can find relief from this silent epidemic that affects over 30 million women in the US alone. Ms. Herrera holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Fordham University and also a Masters in Physical Therapy from Hunter College. For more info, go to http://www.PelvicPainRelief.com

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