Dr. Caroline Pukall has been receiving various questions from women who want to participate in the Survey. She agreed to share these questions and her replies with groups on forums or social media who had been invited to participate.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this study?
Dr. Pukall: The purpose of the survey is to understand the experiences of women with PGAD in many ways – in terms of symptoms, treatments, and function. With the results from this study, we would like to educate health professionals and the public about this distressing disorder, and understand its complexity so that we can develop effective assessment and treatment strategies.
Q: What is your background that makes you interested in studying women like us?
Dr. Pukall: I have been thinking about PGAD ever since I read the first paper on it in 2001. Shortly afterwards, I saw a client with PGAD through the therapy service in which I worked as a graduate student at McGill University. I was struck by many parallels between PGAD and vulvodynia (medically unexplained vulvar pain, which I was studying at the time): the lack of acknowledgment by health professionals, the fact that this client was not taken seriously by anyone she told about her symptoms, the lack of information about the condition and how to treat it, her feelings of being utterly alone, her extreme shame in her symptoms, the fallout in her mood and relationships, and her desperation for validation. It was obvious to me at the time, studying vulvodynia in the way that I was (by examining self-reported symptoms, sensitivity, and brain activity), that we absolutely needed to look at this complex condition in an equally complex way to educate, assess, and treat. We have made many significant inroads in the world of vulvodynia, and would like to help do the same with PGAD.