Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Let’s talk about sex -- And pain

12.07.2002


Dr. Irv Binik investigates pain during intercourse

For some women sex can be uncomfortable. For others it can be downright painful. Dr. Irv Binik, a Psychology professor at McGill and director of the Royal Victoria Sex and Couples Therapy Service is trying to ease the pain. He has been studying the problem of sex-associated pain in women, paying particular attention to two recurrent acute conditions, pain during or after intercourse (dyspareunia) and involuntary spasms of the vagina (vaginismus).

"At the hospital I saw an unusually large number of women all complaining of pain during intercourse," says Dr. Binik of how he got involved in such research. But it was one particular patient who really alerted him to the problem. She had come to him in pain and was exasperated by the suggestion that she should consult yet another gynecologist. Dr. Binik remembers the encounter: "I said, she’s absolutely right. Why am I sending her to a gynecologist? I am a psychologist, I’m supposed to know about pain."

Dr. Binik soon found out that women who experience pain during intercourse have very few options. "I basically learned that there was almost no research, almost no clinical intervention. People assumed it was a physical problem or a sexual problem. Nobody focused on the pain." So with the help of some devoted graduate students and an open-minded McGill gynecologist (Dr. Samir Khalifé), Dr. Binik set out to delve more deeply into the topic.

"I think we quickly realized that we needed to stop trying to reduce the pain either to something physical or to something psychological. It wasn’t right to consider it only as something sexual either." Instead, Dr. Binik and his team have tried to examine the problem from all sides, focusing specifically on the pain itself. "The main issue is pain and our first step has to be to learn more about it."

Many in the mental health profession generally consider this disorder in a sexual context. The same sort of pain can be simulated in sufferers during non-sexual situations, but Dr. Binik notes: "an integral problem for these women is with their partners and intercourse and sex." They can get around gynecological exams, using tampons and so on but the issue of sex itself is hard to ignore.

So what can these women do to find relief? "We typically recommend a combination of cognitive behavioral pain management and physical therapy," says Dr. Binik. When there is not adequate pain relief, surgery may be recommended. But Dr. Binik believes the critical issue is to get away from defining this type of pain by the type of activity with which it interferes.

Thanks to researchers like Dr. Binik, the Sex and Couples Therapy Service at the Royal Victoria Hospital has become a major centre. Along with initiating discussion about the painful topic of painful sex, Dr. Binik is also working on getting his patients out of the clinic and back into the bedroom - where he hopes couples will be able to change their talk from pain to pillow.

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with McGill pain researchers whose investigations are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The project, carried out in cooperation with The McGill Office for Chemistry and Society, aims to highlight recent advances in the study of pain. Permission is granted to reprint in whole or in part.

Irving Binik | EurekAlert

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Experiments in mice and human cells shed light on best way to deliver nanoparticle therapy for cancer
26.03.2020 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Too much salt weakens the immune system
26.03.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

Im Focus: Stem Cells and Nerves Interact in Tissue Regeneration and Cancer Progression

Researchers at the University of Zurich show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumour innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.

Stem cells can generate a variety of specific tissues and are increasingly used for clinical applications such as the replacement of bone or cartilage....

Im Focus: Artificial solid fog material creates pleasant laser light

An international research team led by Kiel University develops an extremely porous material made of "white graphene" for new laser light applications

With a porosity of 99.99 %, it consists practically only of air, making it one of the lightest materials in the world: Aerobornitride is the name of the...

Im Focus: Cross-technology communication in the Internet of Things significantly simplified

Researchers at Graz University of Technology have developed a framework by which wireless devices with different radio technologies will be able to communicate directly with each other.

Whether networked vehicles that warn of traffic jams in real time, household appliances that can be operated remotely, "wearables" that monitor physical...

Im Focus: Peppered with gold

Research team presents novel transmitter for terahertz waves

Terahertz waves are becoming ever more important in science and technology. They enable us to unravel the properties of future materials, test the quality of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

MOC2020: Fraunhofer IOF organises international micro-optics conference in Jena

03.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer sensors could make breath tests for diabetes possible

27.03.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>