I think it is so important for women to feel supported, encouraged, not alone, understood. That’s why I asked this brave soul to share her story. I hope you are able to find some humor, hope and help through her vaginismus journey.
I guess you could say Vaginismus and I met on my wedding night. Yikes!
I had assumed that as a seemingly normal, healthy, twenty-something-year-old virgin (maybe not so normal) that things would go pretty well, you know, sex-wise. I never really noticed anything amiss before. I didn’t wear tampons (they freaked me out). I’d had a pelvic exam once, but it ended with the external examination because my doc thought I seemed too anxious (which I am, I’m super anxious). So back to the wedding night, time for the “Big Deal”, and my vagina didn’t work! WHhaT!? I’d never heard of such a thing in my life! So confusing, awkward and a little painful; my husband and I were bumfuzzled to say the least. It was still a great night, don’t get me wrong, just missed out on the “big shebang” is all.
The Closed Doors
I went to a new Gynecologist soon after the big night, she literally looked at me like I was crazy, like she had never heard of this thing where a vagina would just slam its doors shut when anything got close to it. She tried to do an examination rather forcefully but my vagina was too stubborn, those doors were more sealed closed than ever! She left the room for quite an eternity and came back with a print out of a Vaginismus self-help kit from a website: complete with a book, DVD and a set of dilators with a little handle that screwed on to them so they didn’t get lost in there. She also gave me a prescription for an anti-anxiety med. I tried the Vaginismus self-help kit. Basically, the kit recommended that you start with the smallest dilator and get used to inserting that on your own and work you way up in size to try to stretch your muscles down there. I also tried the anti-anxiety medication made me fall asleep immediately and wake up in the morning incredibly groggy, and didn’t help with actual intercourse at all, neither did the dilators.
I’d like to insert here how incredibly patient my husband was and is, you have no idea.
I was discouraged and just assumed that things were just the way they were. I avoided women’s health exams against the advice of my primary doc, until six years later! Last year during my regular yearly examination required by my insurance, I told my primary doc AGAIN why I was avoiding women’s health exams, about the Vaginismus AGAIN. But this time, she said she had a specialist to refer me to. I wasn’t that enthused about this news, because I thought “yeah, yeah dilators and false hopes, blah-blah.”
The Light at the End of my Tunnel
I went to the first appointment at a Urogynecology clinic where they told me I was not a freak of nature; that this Vaginismus thing was real, that they see lots of women all the time with the same issues and that those self-help kits I tried and the anti-anxiety meds almost never fix it AND that they are almost always able to help patients overcome Vaginismus! They had my attention. They also didn’t even try poke around in my vagina either, we just talked, they told me they were going to help me through about six weeks of pelvic floor-therapy.
During the course of therapy I learned how to control my lady-muscles and I didn’t know I could do that. A little USB stimulation sensor was used to visualize when I was contracting my muscles, which I was almost always doing at first, they would just never relax. I could observe on a graph, my muscle contractions as they were happening and control them in increments. Among other parts of the therapy, I learned pelvic floor exercises I could and should do at home to relax those muscles as well. Also, intercourse began to work, the real thing, magic! It’s not complete magic, it definitely takes work and always will, but still magic! But, one thing is for sure, I am now the boss of my vagina.
Anonymously Brave (I added this part)
If you have any questions, comments, stories – please send them my way! I love hearing from you all.