Reminder: Vulvodynia on TV

08/06/2009 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Reminder: 20/20 will be airing a segment on female sexual pain disorders tomorrow evening on ABC. The NVA & vulvovaginal specialists have been directly involved with its production. Check your local listings. I’m not sure what the options are if you live overseas & don’t get ABC though. Sometimes shows aren’t readily available in other countries.

In the mean time,

Did anybody see the Good Morning America show this morning? I missed the segment on sexual pain since I had to go in for work.

Not to worry though – luckily for us, the good lord saw fit to invent online video streaming. If you missed the show, go to Good Morning America’s website and under the header, “Recently on GMA,” click the link that says, “A Cure for Painful Sex?” I can’t link to it directly. I don’t know how long the videos stay online… watch it while you can, if you can.

Here’s what I’m thinking about the GMA segment –

  • Kudos for explicitly using the word “Vaginal” on tv, instead of dancing around or using something more vague – but why didn’t you explicitly  name the pain conditions? Why didn’t you speak the words now? Why not say “Vulvodynia,” “vaginismus,” “pudendal neuralgia?” You can name it on GMA AND on 20/20! This is the most egregious omission.
  • Tight pelvic floor muscles and physical therapy… he didn’t say the word “Vaginismus” or “Pelvic floor dysfunction” though. Speak the words!
  • “Excessive number of nerve endings…” Why don’t you say what that is? Say “Vulvar vestibulitis.” Say it. That minor surgical procedure… why do you dance around it? Say it, say “Vestibulectomy.”

But it wasn’t all bad…

  • The three women patient’s accounts of what it’s like to live with vulvar pain sound in line with the stories I’ve heard. Pain with sex, extending even into walking, wearing jeans, and bike riding. Difficulty getting doctors to take it seriously.
  • Dr. Tim Johnson said a lot of new research has been done within the last few years – but the text book he mentions, I think it’s out already. I have that book already. Maybe they filmed this segment a few months ago? What, is there another one coming out later on?
  • Dr. Tim Johnson pins down control pills as a causative factor in development of painful sex. I’ve heard the anecdotes, and seen a few scientific journal articles – but he comes out & says it. I know from experience, that this was true for me, but it doesn’t always happen. Has the medical community come to definite agreement on birth control pills & painful sex? Do we know which pills are most likely to do that?
  • You know what I didn’t hear listed as common causative factors for physical pain during sex? Things I usually hear – psychological problems, relationship problems, “Not enough lubricant,” low libido, things of that nature. But then, I’m sure that the, average of 7 doctors the patients wind up seeing to get a proper diagnosis & treatment, ruled those non-physical issues out. Or they didn’t rule it out and kept focusing on it over and over instead of thinking that maybe there’s a medical issue going on. I’m surprised – and a little relieved – that Dr. Johnson cuts to the chase. Sometimes those other problems are not at the core, and addressing them may still not solve everything every time. I think a lot of pelvic pain patients wind up having to waste a lot of time on doctors (and relationship advice columnists) who don’t know or do not believe that real, physical pain conditions exist.

Having watched the segment – some misses, but a little better than how I’ve seen pelvic & sexual pain handled on TV before. I did not detect negative judgements of the patients who go through this. The show handled it professionally.

With regards to leaving some things out, I want to give GMA the benefit of the doubt, since this segment is supposed to tie into 20/20’s show tomorrow. It wasn’t meant to be a whole in-depth analysis.

Also, I saw a commercial on TV for the 20/20 episode set to air, tomorrow. Still didn’t explicitly say “Vulvodynia” on the commercial; it asks something like… I can’t remember the exact quote… “Why do millions of women feel pain with sex instead of pleasure?”

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