We welcome Karen Worley as our guest blogger to share her thoughts on Isa Herrera’s book, “Ending Female Pain”. Don’t miss our upcoming webinar featuring Isa called, “Cesarean Scar Care in the Post-Partum Period.” The book is also available for purchase at the ICAN online bookstore.
Isa Herrera begins one of the chapters of her book, “Ending Female Pain” with this quote from Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” And, indeed, Herrera’s book really speaks to women who have endured the devastation of chronic gynecologic pain.
When I first held this book and gazed down at the cover, I let out a sigh of relief and joy. Finally there was a resource that provided both empathy and empowerment for women struggling with pelvic pain! Herrera’s book is broad in scope, offering women self-help treatment for a wide variety of pains, such as those caused by childbirth trauma, scar pains from abdominal surgeries, and chronic pelvic and sexual pain (including vaginismus and vulvodynia). This resource is different from any other in that is addresses the “whole woman” and teaches the reader about the importance of a mind-body connection in achieving optimal physical and mental health.
“Ending Female Pain” is not for the woman who wants a quick fix for her suffering. Herrera expects the reader to become comfortable with her body, understand the complexities of the female anatomy, and commit to a program that progressively restores health and reduces pain. Even with a background in health, I was a bit overwhelmed by the extensive information around the pelvic floor muscles and genitalia. I had to reassure myself that I would not be quizzed on the location of the obturator fascia or the tendonous arch of the levator ani, but that I would have the book available for reference as I navigated through the self-help program. Herrera’s program combines stretching, vaginal care techniques, strengthening exercises, and yoga for a comprehensive approach to pain-management. She also provides information on the use of biofeedback and foam rollers to enhance her program.
“Ending Female Pain” supplies women with a plethora of tools to manage chronic gynecologic pain. Each reader can try difference techniques and put together an individualized program for pain relief. Given the wide array of causes and dimensions of female pain, Herrera recognizes that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Since the book jumps around a bit, I would suggest that the reader first read the book in its entirety. One can then return to each chapter and complete the tables and charts, which assist with targeting the source of pain and the optimal tools to provide relief. Ideally, the reader will also have a health care provider who is willing to support her during this path to recovery. Finding a knowledgeable physician and physical therapist may be difficult in many parts of the country (unlike the progressive area of New York City where Herrera works), but this book is so abundant with ideas and techniques for pain relief, that it will likely provide at least some degree of relief for even those who have little or no medical resources at their disposal.
Overall, I would recommend “Ending Female Pain” for any woman who is suffering from chronic gynecologic pain and yearns to take charge of her own health and happiness. Just be ready to make a commitment and do some work. As Herrera quotes Thomas Edison, “I am not discouraged, because every attempt discarded is another step forward.”