PODCAST #2. What is GPPPD? Sexual Pain Symptoms Explained (Vaginismus, Dyspareunia)

Image for The Sensate Space podcast about pelvic and sexual pain disorders like vaginismus / GPPPD. The words 'The Sensate Space PODCAST' are written over a photograph of a microphone on the desk. There is a taupe banner at the bottom with the website details.

Hello dear listener! This is episode two of The Sensate Space podcast, a psychology show about vaginismus and other pelvic and sexual pain disorders, answering the question - what is GPPPD, anyway? This episode is explores the symptoms of Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD), a female sexual pain condition encompassing dyspareunia and vaginismus.  You can listen in here or using the player below. Display content from Spotify Click here to display content from Spotify. Learn more in Spotify’s privacy policy. Always display content from Spotify Open "content" directly In this episode, we're discussing Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD), a female sexual dysfunction condition. GPPPD combines dyspareunia and vaginismus, affecting around 14-34% of pre-menopausal women. We'll discuss various symptoms, including pain during intercourse, fear of pain, and the emotional impacts. This condition varies from person to person. For more on managing GPPPD and access to resources, including a free eBook guide, visit our website at www.thesensatespace.com. KEY MESSAGES: In this episode, we're here to have an open conversation about the symptoms and experiences of Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder, commonly known as GPPPD. GPPPD is a fairly new diagnosis, only used in the last ten years with the release of DSM-5, a diagnostic manual.It’s classed as female sexual dysfunction, and encompasses two earlier conditions known as dyspareunia and vaginismus. The prevalence is around 14-34% of pre-menopausal women. Some of the symptoms discussed in this episode: Pain with tampons Fear of pain Pain with intercourse Painful Pap Smears and other physical examinations Feeling of a barrier  Emotional impact Like many conditions, GPPPD can present differently person to person, and there are more signs and co-occurring symptoms that aren’t listed here. For information and resources about managing GPPPD, including our free eBook guide to managing physical examinations and pap smears, visit our website at www.thesensatespace.com. TRANSCRIPT: In this episode, we're here to have an open conversation about the symptoms and experiences of Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder, commonly known as GPPPD (which is such a clunky acronym to say aloud!). We’ll follow how these signs show up in day-to-day life, through the story of Sally - a fictional woman based on the typical experience of someone with this condition.  GPPPD is a fairly new diagnosis, only used in the last ten years with the release of DSM-5, a diagnostic manual. It’s classed as female sexual dysfunction, and encompasses two earlier conditions known as dyspareunia and vaginismus. The prevalence is around 14-34% of pre-menopausal women, but this is probably a considerable underestimate due to the sensitive nature of the condition, and - like many other women’s health conditions - possibly a lack of recognition amongst medical professionals.  Let’s walk through some of the symptoms together in this episode.  GPPPD Symptom 1. Pain with Tampons: For Sally, using tampons has always been a painful experience, and some days it is physically impossible. This has led to anxiety and avoidance of tampon use altogether. GPPPD Symptom 2. Fear of Pain: Sally's fear of pain overwhelms her with anxiety, tension, and anticipatory distress before engaging in sexual activities or undergoing gynaecological examinations.  She is beginning to avoid intimate relationships.  GPPPD Symptom 3. Pain with Intercourse: Dyspareunia, or pain during sexual intercourse, adds to Sally's distress. The pain she feels ranges from a dull ache to sharp and intense stabs. This can change with fluctuations in her hormones, stress levels, etc.  GPPPD Symptom 4. Painful Pap Smears: Sally finds routine gynaecological examinations, like Pap smears, painful. The physical pressure applied during a pelvic exam triggers pelvic pain and distress. (PS- if this is sounding familiar to any of you, make sure you visit thesensatespace.com and grab your copy of the free guide to managing physical examinations).  GPPPD Symptom 5. Feeling of a Barrier: Sometimes Sally experiences the sensation of a physical barrier, or wall of muscle, blocking the way when trying to use a tampon or attempting intercourse.  GPPPD Symptom 6. Emotional Impact: Beyond the physical symptoms, GPPPD takes a toll on Sally's emotional well-being. Coping with chronic pain and fear of pain, and avoiding what can cause pain leads to increased levels of anxiety. Sally feels shame, like she is broken, and it’s isolating. It’s starting to impact her overall quality of life. Like many conditions, GPPPD can present differently person to person, and there are more signs and co-occurring symptoms that aren’t listed here. This is why an independent assessment by a gynaecological specialist and women’s health physiotherapist is so important for developing your own unique treatment plan - it’s never one size fits all.  Summary: To recap - GPPPD is characterised by recurrent and persistent pain associated with intercourse or similar activities, increased tension or anticipation of pain before these activities, and involuntary contraction of pelvic floor muscles (aka the barrier). Remember, there are so many treatment options available for this condition. Exactly what will be helpful for one person depends on how their symptoms are presenting, along with their own physical makeup, experiences, and beliefs - so make sure you seek out a thorough assessment and build a treatment team that can address exactly what you need. You’ve got this - but there’s no need to go alone! If Sally's experiences resonate with you or someone you know, know that help is available. For  information and resources about managing GPPPD, including our free eBook guide to managing physical examinations and pap smears, visit our website at www.thesensatespace.com .  Now, this episode has discussed topics that can feel really big or overwhelming at times. If you need extra support please contact your medical and allied health team, or phone lifeline on 13 11 14 for MH support References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 Conforti, C. (2017). Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD): An overview of current terminology, etiology, and treatment. University of Ottawa Journal of Medicine, 7 (2), 48-53. Dias-Amaral, A., & Marques-Pinto, A. (2018). Female genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder: review of the related factors and overall approach. _Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia_,

PODCAST. Sneak Peek: Psychology & Pelvic Pain

Image for The Sensate Space podcast about pelvic and sexual pain disorders like vaginismus / GPPPD. The words 'The Sensate Space PODCAST' are written over a photograph of a microphone on the desk. There is a taupe banner at the bottom with the website details.

Hello dear listener! Welcome to the first episode by The Sensate Space: a psychology podcast about vaginismus and other pelvic and sexual pain disorders. You can listen in here or using the player below. Display content from Spotify Click here to display content from Spotify. Learn more in Spotify’s privacy policy. Always display content from Spotify Open "content" directly Transcript Hi, welcome to the very first sneak peek into The Sensate Space podcast! It’s wonderful to have you here. This episode is a short trailer to outline what you can expect when you tune in to this show.  The Sensate Space is your podcast dedicated to understanding and managing pelvic pain, with a special focus on chronic intimate pain and sexual pain disorders. If this is relevant for you, know that you’re not alone - prevalence studies are showing this is the case for about a third of  women, to some extent, and there’s a good chance that it is often underreported.  You can expect weekly, bite-sized chunks of general education about these pain experiences, with a focus on the role of psychology.  The Sensate Space is mainly a solo show, but we’ll host some guests from time to time. Do you have someone in mind? Let me know!  This show is absolutely not designed to replace medical and allied healthcare. So, just think of it as an extra bit of support in your earbuds. I’d love to hear what you’re interested in learning from the show - do you have a topic or question in mind? Hit me up on my socials, or via the contact page on our website. All the links are in the show notes. Last of all - I’d like to invite you to keep an eye on thesensatespace.com as we’ll be constantly adding resources and freebies to complement episodes. So, thank you for joining me here today. I hope you’ll stay tuned and check out some of our new episodes as they’re released.  You’ve got this! References Katharina A. Azim, PhD and others, Exploring Relationships Between Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder, Sex Guilt, and Religiosity Among College Women in the U.S., The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 4, April 2021, Pages 770–782, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.02.003 Meana M, Fertel E, Maykut C. Treating genital pain associated with sexual intercourse. In: Peterson ZD, ed. The Wiley Handbook of Sex Therapy. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell; 2017:98–114 -- This is a psychology podcast about vaginismus and other pelvic and sexual pain disorders, and related issues (genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, dyspareunia, vulvodynia, painful intercourse, gynaecological pain, sexual dysfunction, chronic pelvic pain) for the purpose of education and collaboration; it’s not therapy or medical advice. Information is general in nature and does not replace individualised assessment or treatment advice. Please seek professional support tailored to your specific needs. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000). You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please see our About page for more information. PS - Check out our goodies! Stickers, therapy trackers, and more available via our Shop!