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The Patty Brisben Foundation takes care to follow the progress of all ongoing research we’ve helped fund. For questions about our role in this study, or any other research, please contact us and we’ll do what we can to assist you.

Therapeutic Yoga and Genito-Pelvic Pain: Novel Approaches to a Condition Impacting One in Five Women

As a collaborator with the University of California San Francisco, we’ve funded a research study into the development of a therapeutic yoga program for female genito-pelvic pain, a condition impacting one in five women.

This chronic or recurrent genital or pelvic pain interferes with women’s sexual activity and is not easily explained by another reversible medical disorder. Treatments that have been explored for genito-pelvic pain rely on costly or time-intensive visits or procedures with specialized healthcare practitioners, making them inaccessible to many women in the community. However, yoga is a complementary behavioral intervention with the potential to improve female genito-pelvic pain through multiple mechanisms.

Yoga is taught in a way that can emphasize awareness and control over individual muscle groups through the practice of specific yoga postures. It can also help women identify and relax their pelvic floor muscles without traditional pelvic rehabilitation therapy. This study will follow up to 30 women who are 21 years or older who report persistent difficulties with genital or pelvic pain interfering with sexual activity for at least 6 months. Women will attend a lyengar-based yoga class twice a week for six weeks, as well as practice an additional hour of yoga at their home. The women in this study will be assessed by both self-report and independent evaluation, and changes in the severity and impact of women’s pain will be evaluated using validated questionnaires and diaries.