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El Camino Hospital and Me

Anna’s Story: Pelvic Pain

Lots of women have had gynecological surgery, but Anna has had more surgeries than most. In the past two decades, she has had surgery for a birth defect, three C-sections, surgery for fibroids and a hysterectomy.

Four years ago, Anna had an additional operation for urinary incontinence. The surgery succeeded, and Anna was no longer leaking urine, but unfortunately it led to another problem — chronic pelvic pain. The mesh sling used in her surgery had scratched her pudendal nerve, one of the major nerves in the pelvic region. Plus, all the scar tissue from the previous surgeries contributed to what's known as "overactive pelvic floor syndrome," causing unbearable pain for Anna.

Anna was in pain constantly.

"It felt like I was always getting bladder infections," explains Anna.

She couldn't even wear jeans because of the way the fabric pressed against her.

"I wore sweats a lot, because they were so much more comfortable than any other clothing."

Intercourse was extremely painful as well, which made it difficult to have a normal relationship with her husband.

Anna was referred to pelvic physical therapist Meenal Mujumdar, who specializes in physical therapy for pelvic pain, incontinence and other women's health issues, and works at the Women's Hospital at El Camino Hospital.

"Meenal worked with me for about five months," says Anna. "She was extremely gentle and I felt very comfortable with her."

Meenal was able to manipulate the tissue in Anna's pelvic area so that she would no longer feel any pain.

"Essentially, what Meenal did was to move my scar tissue [from surgery] away from my pudendal nerve."

Anna finished her physical therapy in March 2012.

"My pain has gone away," says Anna, who believes the experience has changed her life, allowing her to resume a normal routine once again. "Before I met Meenal, I had no idea pelvic physical therapists existed. Many women who have had surgery could benefit from this," adds Anna.

Although Anna will still need to be careful about bike-riding and other similar activities, she is thrilled that, at age 48, she can get back to living her life to the fullest, without the debilitating pain that once darkened her days.

Many thanks to Anna for sharing her personal story of pelvic pain. Since pelvic health disorders affect nearly a quarter of all women, her story hopefully will inspire many others to get help.