Chapter 31: Ongoing Treatment
Now that you have the tools to treat the problem, decide what you need to continue in order to maintain healthy function and to manage your pelvic, genital, and sexual pain disorder. Many women experience painful sex for such a long period of time, they have no idea where the pain is coming from at first. But as you are able to map out your pain and understand where it is coming from (and why), you will begin to notice improvement. And you will begin to be confident that you have control over your pain. Should your pain return, you will begin to know why, and your confidence will build. Your learning curve about your own body will gradually increase and you will know how you can work to relieve it each time. With the techniques you have learned you can maintain proper function of the pelvic floor muscles and experience sexual intercourse with much less apprehension and discomfort.
Prior to this educational experience you may not have even heard of such conditions as Painful Bladder Syndrome or Interstitial Cystitis, Generalized Vulvodynia, Vulvar Vestibulodynia, Pudendal Neuralgia, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. These conditions and others just as common, such as Endometriosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome all can be causes of and triggers for a variety of pelvic and sexual pain disorders. The more you know and the more you advocate for yourself and others with these conditions, the sooner the health care system will trend towards recognizing how common they are and how important it is to diagnose and treat them as early as possible. The quality of life of so many young people will depend on these issues being included in the routine evaluation of their health care into the future.