When 'Girls' actor Zosia Mamet experienced what she called "the worst UTI of my life", it took six years for her to receive a proper diagnosis for her pain.
The 29-year-old spoke candidly about the experience, and her subsequent diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, on stage at the AOL Makers Conference on February 6.
Mamet says she was experiencing "insane urinary frequency" and sex could only be deduced to feeling like "a hot poker up my vag".
It was obvious something was wrong, but doctors didn't know what it was.
Mamet was given antibiotics that did everything but treat her condition: she gained weight, became depressed and alarmingly, says she had acid poured into her vagina. After years of misdiagnoses, Mamet says her physicians began to claim she was imagining her condition.
Thankfully, the first female doctor Mamet visited during this ordeal was able to diagnose her: she had pelvic floor dysfunction, which affects one in three women.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, pelvic floor dysfunction occurs "when you are unable to control the muscles in your pelvic floor to have a bowel movement."
The symptoms—painful urination and pain for women during intercourse—lined up perfectly with Mamet's condition. Those with pelvic floor dysfunction are also subject to incomplete or absent bowel movements, which can lead to constipation, lower back pain and ongoing pelvic, genital and rectal pain. While there is also no widely known cause for the condition, traumatic pelvic injuries and childbirth complications are among the small handful of causes.
Mamet was able to take comfort in her condition having a name, and a simple treatment.
She recalls her doctor told her, "you can stop eating painkillers like Tic Tacs, because we can fix you with physical therapy."
"My answer was 'Pilates? Seriously!?'" she said.
Looking back, Mamet says she is thankful she was able to control her condition and for the pain she experienced, because it let her know that what she was feeling was real.
"I had seriously started to believe all those dicks with plaques were right," she said.
No one knows you better than you, Zosia.