Published: 5:18 PM EDT July 18, 2023
Updated: 5:18 PM EDT July 18, 2023
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A woman from Gray who spent years trying to get relief from debilitating pain is raising awareness that PFDs can occur in anyone at any age.
Donna Neill said the pain in her pelvic area began back in early 2014 after she began doing Zumba classes. At the time, she was a hairstylist and on her feet all day, working out of her home business.
“I’d come upstairs in tears, be in tears, so much heaviness, pain,” Neill explained with pain in her voice.
She stopped doing Zumba and met with her gynecologist, who later diagnosed her with stage 2 rectocele, a type of pelvic organ prolapse that can cause weakening in the pelvic floor. But even after undergoing surgery to address the problem, her agony continued.
“Oh, it was like incredible pain,” Neill said.
Pain that would send her blood pressure sky-high. The mother of two had to give up her hair salon as sitting and standing got worse. Long car rides required being propped up with pillows. Painkillers also didn’t give her any relief.
“I am being honest, there are many times I have thought of suicide,” Neill shared.
Unable to sit without pain, she began painting lying on her back to get her mind off her ordeal. After going from doctor to doctor and undergoing more procedures, she was finally diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia. Long-term pelvic pain originates from damage or irritation of the pudendal nerve, which is the main nerve in the pelvis. After undergoing surgery to relieve pressure on the pudendal nerve, Neill also found out her pelvic pain was originally caused by an unknown birth defect, which was exacerbated by the first surgery.
Neill was able to get some relief after she began seeing Susan Ramsey, a pelvic floor rehab therapist at Scarborough Physical Therapy Associates. Ramsey has been treating patients for 25 years. She said the pelvic floor is one of the most important, but least talked about, parts of the body, made up of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue that hold all the pelvic organs.