Learning how to use your vaginal trainer (or vaginal dilator) may be to the first step on your journey. You may find you need support from a prescribed action plan to fully reach your goals. Thankfully, sexual, pelvic and mental health is a rapidly growing part of women’s healthcare. The network of clinicians, specialists and other types of support are also growing every year. These experts can help you progress and navigate around complex circumstances or uncertainty.
When you have decided you would like to seek medical help, it’s important you outline what you are experiencing, how long you have been experiencing this, and how it makes you feel during sex or activities involving penetration. Also, it’s important to identify what you are trying to achieve and identify what difficulties or pain is occurring and where. Once you have organized these answers (mentally or written out), you can more easily determine what type of support would suit you best.
From technology to in-person visits, there are a few options we recommend. Of course, this will depend on your comfort level, needs, budget (or insurance coverage) and availability.
- Online consultation services and searches: Virtual and online access to healthcare is becoming more available. Check out these options:
- eDocAmerica.com – consult with physicians online
- Healthgrades.com – search for quality doctors in your area
- Vitals.com – healthcare database that includes specialists
- Pelvicrehab.com – directory of pelvic rehab practitioners
- Pelvicguru.com – trusted network of pelvic health experts
- Research through associations or organizations: There are professional organizations that educate and refer specialists in women’s health and pelvic health specifically. Here are a few to get you started:
- American Physical Therapy Association (APTA): On APTA’s website there is a searchable database of “women’s health” therapists.
- The International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS): Members consist of gynecologists, urologists, physical therapists and other health professionals aimed to treat women encountering pelvic pain or related conditions.
- Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute: Although mainly for medical professionals educating and keeping on top of treatment practice, this institute still offers online courses from leading pelvic, sexual and mental health specialists (and who may be in your area or accessible.)
- Ask a girlfriend, female confidant or community forum: Referrals can be relatively easy to find, and you might be surprised how common your experience is. Whether it is your closest friend, mom or even grandmother, consider bringing the topic up and see where it goes. There are also communities of women coming together online who are a wealth of knowledge and support. Consider looking into online groups like this Facebook group called The Happy Pelvis or this online support group called Pelvic Health Summit.
Because your pelvic health is such a personal topic, trust your instincts and true reactions to make the best selection. Questions you want clear and positive answers to include:
- Did the doctor/specialist explain things clearly?
- Did they seem to care about you?
- Do you like their methods and approaches?
- Is their practice over-booked or limited in available times?
- Do they offer flexibility to your schedule?
Finding the right fit may take trial and error – but don’t give up. You’re not alone and making great progress – you got this!
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