On Sept. 12, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) posted a new rule on its website prohibiting gynecologists from treating men. A few conditions were listed as exceptions; however, pelvic pain was not one of them.
So writes the New York Times in an article published Dec. 10 titled “Men with Pelvic Pain find a Path to Treatment Blocked by Gynecology Board.”
The article features the story of a male pelvic pain patient named Daniel Davidson, 57, who is a dentist in Dalton Gardens, Idaho. Dr. Davidson was scheduled for a pudendal nerve decompression surgery with a Phoenix gynecologist; however, six days prior to the appointment his surgery was cancelled due to the new ABOG restrictions, the article says.
Dr. Davidson’s pain left him bedridden; unable to sit or stand without pain, says the article. “These characters at the board jerked the rug out from underneath me,” the article quotes him as saying.
The article explains “other men are in a similar situation, unsure of where to turn for help. A number of nerve and muscle problems can cause debilitating pelvic pain syndromes in both men and women, but the problems are more common in women, and gynecologists often have the most skill in treating this type of pain, experts in the field say.”
However, according to the article, ABOG says that “many other types of doctors can treat these ailments in men,” according to a spokesman, David Margulies.
The article points out that ABOG did reverse its restrictions allowing gynecologists to treat male patients at high risk for anal cancer. (See the New York Times article covering this issue here.) In addition, ABOG has made an exception for one male pelvic pain patient who appealed to it directly.
The article quotes an email that the board sent to the patient from a board official saying that its policy was “not to have doctors abandon their current patients like you.” The ABOG spokesman called this exception a one-time thing, the article states.
The International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) wrote the board a letter requesting exceptions to its rule for male pelvic pain patients. However, the board declined.
The article quotes an email from the IPPS: “Gynecologists with the appropriate skills, experience and knowledge who choose to participate in the care of men with chronic pelvic pain should not be at risk of losing their board certification, solely because they participate in the care of patients who have a real need, suffer tremendously and have limited options for treatment.”
In addition, the article quotes Stephanie Prendergast, who is president of the IPPS who said in an email, “I can assure you these gynecologists are better equipped to treat male patients with pelvic pain than most urologists, neurologists, orthopedists, etc.”
To read the article in its entirety, click here.
To read an article about male pelvic pain, click here.
We will continue to follow this issue closely and will update you on all developments.
If you are a male pelvic pain patient effected by this issue, please let us know in the comment section below or email us at: [email protected].