Women's Health Month: Spotlight on Dr. Jana Richardson in Naperville, Illinois

Dr. Jana Richardson of Chicago Pelvic Health and Wellness in Naperville, IL.

There's nothing more frustrating than someone not taking you seriously, especially when it comes to your health. During my second pregnancy, I had major problems with my pelvis, in fact, during the last half of my pregnancy, I had symphysis pubis diastasis (SPD).

What's symphysis pubis diastasis?

Delightfully, in the later stages of pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments around the symphysis pubis to become stretchy and loose causing extreme pain. While the hormone relaxin is great for making birth easier for mom and baby, the instability of the pelvis in this state makes for a very uncomfortable - everything.

To be completely honest, it felt like the two parts of my pubic bone were grinding against each other making it difficult to walk and almost impossible to lie in a comfortable position.

My doctor told me to work my core after recovering from birth and stay away from high-impact exercise as my pelvis would "probably never recover."

I asked if I should continue physical therapy, as I continued to be in pain after birth, and my doctor shrugged and said, "If you want to sure, but focus on doing your kegels."

I felt dismissed.

While I was crying through painful physical therapy appointments, Dr. Jana Richardson was working at clinics all over the U.S. honing her skills in supporting women and men through complex pelvic health issues.

"I found nationwide that pelvic health clinics were sparse," explained Jana. "Because of this, so many patients are underserved and the field, in particular, is lacking knowledge and awareness."

Dr. Richardson saw many opportunities for healing while working at quality clinics but when she moved back to her home state of Illinois, she was not able to locate a practice that embodied the judgment-free environment of hope she was looking for.

These two factors drove Jana to start her own practice, Chicago Pelvic Health & Wellness in Naperville, Illinois.

Providing a cozy space to feel safe is important for Dr. Richardson. (Image via Chicago Pelvic Health & Wellness)

"I wanted to create a welcoming and inviting space where patients felt safe enough to feel heard," explained Jana. "Many people are coming to physical therapy with concerns that are often very personal and private, and often they are saying these concerns for the first time to a healthcare provider."

Jana knew she wanted to create an environment where her patients could feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable because pelvic conditions can be embarrassing in addition to being extremely painful.

Trouble urinating, bowel issues, pain during sex, and incontinence are just a few of the symptoms surrounding pelvic conditions and injuries, not to mention the psychological strain chronic pain can put on a person.

Dr. Jana wor