Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

By Dr. Christine Martirez PT, DPT on 3/28/2024

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Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) is a complex and often misunderstood condition that can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Characterized by persistent and uncontrollable genital arousal in the absence of sexual desire or stimulation, PGAD poses unique challenges for those affected. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of PGAD, explore known risk factors and symptoms, and discuss the vital role of pelvic floor physical therapy in managing this condition.

Deciphering Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

  • Understanding PGAD:

    PGAD is a rare condition characterized by recurrent, spontaneous, and unprovoked genital arousal that can persist for hours, days, or even longer periods. It can occur in both men and women, although it is more commonly reported in women. It is also thought that pinching, compressing, or irritating a nerve called the pudendal nerve, which helps you feel sensations around your genitals, may cause PGAD.

  • Known Risk Factors:

    While the exact cause of PGAD remains elusive, certain factors may contribute to its development, including hormonal fluctuations, nerve dysfunction, pelvic trauma, post gynecological surgeries, psychological factors, and medication side effects.

Symptoms and Impact on Quality of Life

  • Symptoms of PGAD:

    Symptoms of PGAD may vary among individuals but often include persistent genital arousal, sensations of tingling or throbbing in the genital area, and discomfort or pain associated with arousal.

  • Psychological and Emotional Impact:

    PGAD can have profound psychological and emotional effects, leading to anxiety, depression, shame, and social isolation. The persistent nature of the symptoms can disrupt daily activities, work, and intimate relationships.

The Role of Pelvic Floor Muscles in PGAD

  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:

    Dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles may contribute to the symptoms of PGAD. Tension or hypertonicity in the pelvic floor muscles can exacerbate sensations of arousal and discomfort, leading to a cycle of increased arousal and distress.

  • Neuromuscular Imbalances:

    Imbalances in pelvic floor muscle function and coordination may disrupt the normal sensory feedback loop, contributing to dysregulation of genital sensation and arousal.

How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help

  • Comprehensive Assessment:

    Pelvic floor physical therapists conduct a thorough assessment to evaluate pelvic floor muscle tone, function, and coordination. This assessment may include internal and external palpation to identify areas of tension or weakness.

  • Muscle Relaxation Techniques:

    Therapists utilize specialized techniques to release tension and reduce hypertonicity in the pelvic floor muscles. Manual therapy, biofeedback, and relaxation exercises can help individuals regain control and alleviate symptoms of arousal.

  • Mind-Body Techniques:

    Pelvic floor physical therapy incorporates mind-body techniques to address psychological factors contributing to PGAD. Therapists offer counseling, mindfulness practices, and stress management strategies to promote emotional well-being and resilience.

  • Education and Self-Care Strategies:

    Therapists provide education on pelvic floor anatomy, arousal physiology, and self-care strategies for managing PGAD symptoms. This may include lifestyle modifications, ergonomic adjustments, and techniques for self-soothing during episodes of arousal.

  • Empowerment Through Rehabilitation:

    Pelvic floor physical therapy empowers individuals with PGAD to take an active role in their rehabilitation journey. By providing personalized treatment plans and ongoing support, therapists empower individuals to regain control over their pelvic health and quality of life.

Finding Relief and Hope Through Pelvic Floor Therapy

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) presents unique challenges for those affected, but there is hope for relief through pelvic floor physical therapy. By addressing underlying pelvic floor dysfunction and providing holistic care for the mind and body, therapists offer a path towards healing and restoration. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PGAD, don't hesitate to seek support from a qualified pelvic floor physical therapist. Together, we can navigate the complexities of PGAD and work towards a brighter future of pelvic health and well-being.

Are you suffering from PGAD or other pelvic floor related symptoms? Please reach out to us at Pelvic Health Center in Madison, NJ to set up an evaluation and treatment! Feel free to call us at 908-443-9880 or email us at

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