The overall tone of this book strikes the perfect balance between providing facts about sexual pain (the many, many types and the plethora of causes) interspersed with all of the doctor's real-world work with sexual pain patients throughout the course of many years, as well as the real stories told by sexual pain patients. What I enjoyed most about this book is that its overall message is that sexual pain conditions in women is incredibly real (and sadly very common) but there is a lot of hope in the fact that these authors/doctors (as well as countless other doctors throughout the world) are giving the conditions a voice and the main message to the sexual pain sufferer is that there is hope for diagnosis and treatment and that they are not alone. The writing of this book also resonated with me because the information is written in such a way that the medical and scientific explanations of pain and diagnosis is presented in an informative yet approachable manner. All of the doctors demonstrate a real concern and connection with the patients they have treated as well as for all of the women suffering from sexual pain who will benefit from reading their book.
Having experienced my own journey with sexual pain in addition to the pain of IC I had a couple of 'ah ha' moments while reading this book and I am grateful to Drs. Goldstein, Pukall and Goldstein for providing some very important puzzle pieces that were previously missing in my understanding of the pain and symptoms of dealing with overlapping pain conditions. Less than 20 pages into the book and I was floored to read that one reason that women tend to develop chronic pain conditions in their pelvic area later in life happens in the embryonic stage when the cells which later will become the woman's ovaries and genitalia develop separately including the embedded data which house the nerve, tissue and blood supplies. (In order to understand this concept I thought of two car parts being manufactured at different factories and then fused together to form a singular car.) I was also reminded of the interview about IC that I had with Dr. Robert Echenberg one year ago about the possibility that I also have untreated pelvic floor dysfunction-another helpful explanation and treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction can also be found in this book!
The clarity of description for all of the various sexual pain conditions from vulvodyia to IC to pelvic floor dysfunction and every condition in between the doctors/writers include exceptional explanations, diagrams and the best approach to seeking out testing and treatment from the right doctor. I really appreciated their candor about how important it can be to simply use the correct adjectives to describe the pain you experience with chronic pelvic/sexual pain in order to ensure your doctor will listen more actively. The end of the book provides resources for help as well as a pain diary to document when your sexual begins (time of day, before during or after sexual intercourse, etc.) All in all I highly recommend this book to all pelvic pain/IC/sexual pain patients and their partners/spouses and "When Sex Hurts" will be added to my Suggested Reading list. Look for it at your nearest book store or library today!