Survey on vulvodynia and its effect on relationships announced
Woman’s Support Network Announces First Survey Focusing on How “The Pain Women Won’t Talk About” Affects Relationships.
[ClickPress, Wed Jan 17 2007] An estimated 15 million women, of all ages, suffer from Vulvodynia (chronic vaginal/vulvar pain) at some point in their lives. Many are too embarrassed or ashamed to speak of it. But this condition has wrecked marriages and destroyed self-esteem.
Symptoms such as burning, stinging, or stabbing pain in the genital area often prevent women from having, or enjoying, sex. But both partners suffer from the effects of this disorder, which causes confusion, guilt, frustration, and a diminished quality of life.
Doctors are stymied by it. Little research into a cure has been performed. Medical studies have been done on the prevalence of the disorder and the efficacy of current treatment options, but no survey has focused solely on the relationship aspect until now.
“It's about time somebody looked at the effect of vulvodynia on both partners,” says Susan Bilheimer, founder of the Women's Midlife Support Network, which is conducting the survey. Statistics gathered will be incorporated into a book on the subject.
“With the divorce rate skyrocketing, and millions of women suffering in silence, it's time to bring the ‘secret’ out of hiding, and provide hope, help, and support to couples who suffer,” Bilheimer adds.
Dr. Robert Echenberg, a Bethlehem, PA gynecologist specializing in pelvic pain and sexual wellness, agrees with Bilheimer. “Chronic pain associated with sexual intimacy is always a tragic situation for both the woman and her partner," he says.
The media are being asked to publicize the survey to encourage the widest possible response. Women who suffer from this condition are urged to participate in this research effort, which is located at www.midlifesupport.com. Absolute confidentiality is assured.
The Woman’s Midlife Support Network, established in 2004, is a website that provides information, tools and resources to help women survive and thrive as they move toward menopause.