This rare, but distressing condition is complex and poorly understood.
At HerMD, we have treated women who have PGAD who have been dismissed and overlooked by their health care providers.
What is it?
Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD)/genito-pelvic dysesthesia (GPD) is a complex and distressing disorder. The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) defines PGAD/GPD in women as a condition “characterized by persistent or recurrent, unwanted or intrusive, distressing sensations of genital arousal (e.g., feelings of being on the verge of orgasm and of lubrication and swelling, tingling, throbbing, contractions) that persist for ≥3 months and may include other types of genito-pelvic dysesthesia (e.g., buzzing, burning, twitching, itch, pain).”
How many women does this impact? / What is the prevalence?
PGAD/GPD is a poorly understudied condition. The data that does exist suggests a PGAD/GPD prevalence of 0.6-3.0% in women worldwide.
What are the symptoms
Common symptoms of PGAD/GPD include:
- Sensations of genital arousal (mainly, orgasm) not related to sexual desire, thoughts, or fantasies
- Burning, itching, or pain
- Poor quality of life
- Suicide ideations
While there aren’t any FDA-approved treatment options for PGAD/GPD, many treatment options exist to help alleviate distressing symptoms.
Common treatment options include:
- Multiple medications
- Lifestyle changes
- Physical therapy
What to expect on your visit
During your visit, you can expect your care team to listen to and address all of your concerns in a safe and trusted space. A consultation for PGAD/GPD, and corresponding evaluation modalities, will depend on the likely cause of the PGAD/GPD.
A consultation may include:
- A history and physical examination
- Specialist referral
Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD)/genito-pelvic dysesthesia (GPD) is an abnormal firing of nerves that causes a continuous, unrelenting feeling of orgasm. After orgasm, the distressing feelings don’t go away, and are often exacerbated.
While the exact cause of PGAD/GPD is unknown, it is understood that some conditions predispose patients to develop the disorder. Factors that may contribute to the onset of PGAD/GPD include Tarlov cysts, abruptly stopping an antidepressant, and pelvic floor dysfunction, to name a few. Varying biopsychosocial etiologies may contribute to PGAD/GPD, but there is likely a common, underlying neurological basis.
Yes, we successfully evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with PGAD/GPSD quite frequently. While treatment isn’t curative, we’ve had patients report being symptom-free with treatment.
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The opening of HerMD and Amy Kinnet has changed my life. I went to 3 other doctors for pelvic pain over course of 2 years and she is the only one to take my pain seriously and look for answers. Everyone in the office is warm and welcoming. Maddie is a cheerful happy face walking in, Callen is the most personable nurse I’ve ever encountered and it’s always a positive experience all around.
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