Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Online pelvic floor group education program for women with persistent genital arousal disorder/genito-pelvic dysesthesia: Descriptive feasibility study

Jackowich, Robyn A. ORCID:, Mooney, Kayla M., Hecht, Evelyn and Pukall, Caroline F. 2021. Online pelvic floor group education program for women with persistent genital arousal disorder/genito-pelvic dysesthesia: Descriptive feasibility study. JMIR Formative Research 5 (1) , e22450. 10.2196/22450

[thumbnail of PDF.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (336kB) | Preview


Background: Persistent genital arousal disorder/genito-pelvic dysesthesia (PGAD/GPD) is a highly distressing yet poorly understood condition characterized by persistent genito-pelvic sensations, often described as “genital arousal,” which occur in the absence of sexual desire. PGAD/GPD is associated with significant impairment in psychosocial and daily functioning; however, there are currently no empirically validated treatment algorithms for PGAD/GPD. Pelvic floor physical therapy exercises have been found to be effective at reducing other forms of genito-pelvic discomfort, such as vulvodynia, and may also be beneficial to those experiencing PGAD/GPD. Many individuals with PGAD/GPD report difficulty finding a health care provider who is knowledgeable about PGAD/GPD; therefore, pelvic floor education and exercises in an online format may have the potential to reach more individuals in need. Objective: This study examined the feasibility of an online pelvic floor group education program; descriptively assessed outcomes related to distress, discomfort, catastrophizing, and mood; and obtained feedback from participants in order to inform the development of improved online group programs. Methods: Fourteen women with current symptoms of PGAD/GPD attended an online, 8-session pelvic floor group education program. Participants completed questionnaires of symptoms (ie, symptom distress, discomfort) and psychosocial well-being (ie, depression, anxiety, symptom catastrophizing) prior to the group sessions (Time 1), immediately after the final group session (Time 2), and 6 months following the final group session (Time 3). Participants also completed an anonymous feedback questionnaire immediately following the group program. Results: Overall, participants who attended a larger number of the group sessions (>5 sessions, n=7) appeared to report lower baseline (Time 1) symptoms and psychosocial impairment than those who attended fewer sessions (<5 sessions, n=7). A pattern of small improvements was seen following the group sessions on symptom and psychosocial outcomes. In the feedback questionnaire, breathing and relaxation exercises were described to be the most helpful home practice exercises, and participants rated sessions on (1) the relationship between emotions and PGAD/GPD symptoms and (2) relaxation exercises to be the most helpful. A number of barriers to participation in the group program were also identified, including comorbid health concerns and lack of personal time to complete the program/exercises. Conclusions: Online interventions provide an opportunity to reach international participants who may otherwise struggle to access a knowledgeable provider for their PGAD/GPD symptoms. Addressing barriers may help to increase participants’ abilities to engage in the program. Future programs may seek to integrate a greater focus on relaxation strategies and cognitive-affective strategies for managing PGAD/GPD symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
ISSN: 2561-326X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 September 2023
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 01:55

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics