In Healing Painful Sex: A Woman’s Guide to Confronting, Diagnosing, and Treating Sexual Pain, physician Deborah Coady, MD, and psychotherapist Nancy Fish, MSW, MPH, combine their medical and psychological expertise to write a book about and for women who suffer from sexual pain.  Healing Painful Sex is concise, clear, and comprehensive, informing women of the many causes and treatments available for disorders.

Through its holistic, compassionate approach, this valuable guide empowers with knowledge, instills with confidence and gives women a direction for finding doctors who are truly knowledgeable about their disorders and able to treat their pain.  As is read in its introduction, “This book is the product of our passionate belief that all women with sexual pain need both physical and emotional support.” 

Deborah Coady and Nancy Fish provide a detailed, empathic guide that that offers a wealth of physical and emotional suppport. I highly recommend Healing Painful Sex: A Woman’s Guide to Confronting, Diagnosing, and Treating Sexual Pain.

Millions of women suffer from sexual and pelvic pain in America today, yet it is frequently misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.  Because of the multidisciplinary nature of sexual pain, which falls between the disciplines of experts, women have often been told that pain is “all in your head”  or that nothing can be done to help them.  As Coady and Fish point out, “We’re here to tell you that none of that is true.  Sexual pain is almost always caused by an identifiable, verifiable medical condition; it can be treated and is not in your head.” 

Nancy Fish had suffered from severe pelvic pain and had seen seven specialists before visiting Deborah Coady.  Coady, while having years of experience with women suffering from sexual pain, nonetheless took some time to uncover all of Fish’s difficulties.  Fish, like most women suffering from sexual pain, through inadequate treatment had several conditions that had compounded and spread.  A licensed certified social worker specializing in chronic illness, Fish found great hope in Coady’s insistence that she never give up on herself. She was inspired to form a partnership with Coady to help those with the chronic illness of sexual pain. 

Deborah Coady, through her personally developed teams of colleagues in neurology, dermatology, orthopedics, pain management, gastroenterology, urology, peripheral nerve surgery, physical therapy and psychotherapists, demonstrates in Healing Painful Sex how fruitful their holistic approach can be. As they write, “Even in your most difficult situations, you can experience a significant reduction in your pain and can find help for reintroducing sex as a joyous and nourishing part of your life.  We promise:  Things can get better.”

The book is organized into three parts. Part 1: Naming the Problem begins with the difficult situation of talking about sexual pain.  It helps the reader learn how to share her situation with one or two other people who can then help make medical decisions.  The book then discusses the often arrogant, uninformed or downright abusive physicians who exist.  As stated in the book, “The degree of incompetence, insensitivity, and indifference among gynecologists, other specialists, and general practitioners is hard to overstate.”  Hoping to aid their emotional healing along the way to ending their sexual pain, Coady and Fish outline the ways in which the reader can understand what to do when the doctors get it wrong. 

The first section of the book ends with a chapter dedicated to finding a doctor who will offer effective treatment and provides a detailed holistic guide on beginning one’s healing by following guidelines on pain, sleep hygiene, diet and supplements, exercise and relaxation techniques and learning of how to be gentle with oneself.

Part 2: Understanding the Problem, provides the reader nine chapters of detailed information covering the symptoms and conditions of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, pudendal nerve pain, clitorodynia, pelvic organ problems, endometriosis, painful bladder, and irritable bowel syndrome, skin disorders, such as lichen sclerosis, and hormonal, surgical, and post-cancer causes of pain.  Interwoven with detailed explanations of the causes of sexual pain, the book contains full-page anatomical illustrations, checklists for particular disorders, and details on the types of tests needed as well as lists of the common misdiagnoses given for a disorder and ways to rule it out.  It contains details on how the various conditions can co-occur and affect one another.  It tells the potential patient of what to expect during an examination and offers guidance based on the doctor’s performance and recommendations.

Part 3: Overcoming the Problem presents valuable information and guidance devoted to fulfilling one’s life with the joys often taken away in sexual pain.  Coady and Fish hope to return libido, desire, partner intimacy, healthy relationships with friends and families to women undergoing sexual pain.  Their many personal case studies validate and underscore the valuable guidance they provide.  The book closes with excellent resources, including recommended books, helpful websites, psychotherapists, as well as relevant organizations and associations.

Healing Painful Sex: A Woman’s Guide to Confronting, Diagnosing, and Treating Sexual Pain
By Deborah Coady, MD & Nancy Fish, MSW, MPH
Seal Press: November 1, 2011
Paperback, 400 pages
$18

 

APA Reference
Deborah Coady, MD and Nancy Fish, MSW, MPH. (2012). Healing Painful Sex: A Woman’s Guide to Confronting, Diagnosing and Treating Sexual Pain. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/healing-painful-sex-a-womans-guide-to-confronting-diagnosing-and-treating-sexual-pain/00010899
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

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