My name is Emily, I am 43 years old and I have had vaginismus since I was 19. I have experienced 24 years of pain, guilt, embarrassment and sadness due to vaginismus. My story is as follows…I became sexually active at age 17 without any pain or problems. Vaginismus settled in 6 months after I began dating my current husband. We started our relationship with a pain free sex life, but an emotional reaction on my end to an extended separation lead to the onset of vaginismus. It felt like I just woke up one day and intercourse became unbearably painful. I experienced a burning, searing, intense pain that took my breath away and made me so fearful of intimacy. Intercourse became a dreaded experience that became less and less frequent. Thankfully for me, this wonderful man I was dating (now my husband) was so understanding, patient and loving. I have a very close relationship with my sisters and my parents as well and over the years, everyone has helped me research vaginismus, identify treatments that may help and have been incredibly supportive. I have been able to use tampons all along with just a little discomfort. Gyn exams were possible, but I broke out in a cold sweat and had to do deep breathing due to the pain of being examined. I feel like I have tried everything out there as far as treatments go. I have seen numerous gyn doctors & specialists, psychiatrists and psychologists over the years. I have tried bio-feedback, hypnosis, acupuncture, numbing products and dilation using the wrong dilators (the dilators I was given in the past were not graduated in size and were made of rigid materials). I had an unsuccessful experience with Botox injections because the gyn I saw in Seattle, WA put the injections in the wrong locations. 10 days after the Botox injections, I began having bladder and urethra pain. Many visits later to one Urologist after another, and to a physical therapist, the belief is that the Botox was injected too close to my bladder. When some of the muscles were effected by Botox, it put a strain on the other muscles surrounding the bladder and urethra. It took months to figure out how to relieve this new daily pain sensation in my bladder (it was not caused by any infections). Finally I found that a low dose of Valium helped relieve the pain. I am still on Valium today, 3 years later because when I ease myself off, the bladder pain returns. The Botox did nothing to ease the Vaginismus pain…so if you are thinking of trying a Botox treatment, certainly go to Dr. Pacik.
I was only able to tolerate intercourse if I completely numbed the internal vaginal muscles with Lidocaine. That had its own side effects and problems. Using the Lidocaine products over time hyper-sensitized the vaginal skin and then I began having allergic reactions to the different lubrications I tried. Many doctors told me that the pain I was experiencing would go away after I had a child. I gave birth to our son (a vaginal delivery) when I was 30 years old. He was an 8 pound baby…so plenty of stretching happened. Sadly, the pain was still there after I recovered from the delivery. As the years went by and the pain was still as intense, I became more and more discouraged that I would never be able to have pain free intercourse again. Thankfully, I have not given up and that thin thread of determination lead me to Dr. Pacik. I knew from the moment I saw his website and started reading all the posted information that I had finally found the right person to help me. Dr. Pacik’s knowledge of vaginismus and all the emotional baggage that accompanies it is truly amazing. I was so impressed by his level of personal communication as soon as I contacted his office. Through phone calls, Skype conversations and emails, we agreed upon a course of treatment. I was not able to fly to N.H. to have the Botox treatment, so we committed to a long distance treatment relationship that focused on dilation only. I knew in my heart that I would have success with the dilators and Dr. Pacik believed in me 100%. While I was waiting to receive the “Pure Romance” dilators he recommended, Dr. Pacik suggested I read his book and other publications on vaginismus, which were extremely informative and liberating. Knowledge is power! Once I received the dilators, Dr. Pacik instructed me on how to begin and asked me to email him daily about my progress. I started out with dilating in the morning and evening using the smaller dilators. I slept with a dilator inserted every other night. Dr. Pacik was very supportive and helped me not get discouraged when I would feel any burning sensations after dilations. I am 8 months into my dilation treatment with Dr. Pacik and I have progressed up to using the largest 2 dilators without pain. With proper dilation beforehand, I have even achieved pain free intercourse a few times! I know daily dilation will be in my future for awhile since like all muscles, the vaginal wall muscles need to be stretched so they can stay flexible. I truly can not express my gratitude to Dr. Pacik and all the wonderful people who work with him. I whole-heartedly recommend working with Dr. Pacik in whatever capacity can be arranged.