Blog: Vaginismus and Anxiety

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  • #8465
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    In a Skype interview a prospective patient asked how treatment of her vaginismus with the Botox program would help her anxiety levels. This is a very good question and I would encourage your comments after reading the blog.

    http://www.vaginismusmd.com/vaginismus-and-anxiety/

    #9797
    sp01
    Participant

    Hi,
    I have my procedure coming up next week and suffer from serve vaginismus. I am really nerves and anxious about the procedure. I have suffered for a very long time presently feels really stressed and scared. Right now with my vaginismus even the thought of a dilator is scaring me as I have never been successful using the method. I m so scared that it will not work for me.

    #9800
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi sp. … it is entirely normal to feel this way prior to the procedure. I remember feeling so, so nervous. I, too, convinced myself that I would be the one patient that it wouldn’t work for and I could never do dilating. I also had severe (level 5) vaginismus with the complete inability to insert anything prior to the procedure. The good thing is that it worked and it WILL WORK for you as well. Dr. P and his staff are seriously amazing and they all work to help you feel more relaxed during the entire treatment. You may also be able to take anti-anxiety medication (VERCED) just prior to the procedure and this also works well to calm you down. We are all here for you and I KNOW everything is going to go great for you next week. :):):)

    #9802
    sp01
    Participant

    Thank You, I feel so stressed and stiff and do feel that I am going to be the one person it fails on; right now this cannot even be imagined in my wildest dreams.

    #9803
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi sp … we are all here to support you as we have all been right where you are now. Pre-procedure anxiety is so common and I know that you will do GREAT. Here are some posts from other forum members regarding their pre-procedure anxiety in response to a prior post:

    Heather34
    A patient has her procedure coming up in January. She has a couple of very good questions for the group. First, she asks if it is normal to be a bit sick and nervous prior to the procedure?

    silverperl
    1) Yes, it is completely normal to be sick/nervous before the procedure. Every bio I have read and my first hand experience is that women with vaginismus have been through the ringer. I hoped that physical therapy, different medications, different specialists and dilators on their own would be cure. They all ended in disappointment so of course I was nervous/scared of the procedure. I am so glad I went through with it now!

    Amanda-
    Miller
    1) yes you will be nervous just like any type of procedure you will be put under. However when you think about everything you have been through to get to this point you will be excited to be here. At the office they make you feel at home so they ease your nervousness immediately.

    Tabia
    I was so nervous that I needed to be sedated. It is so normal to be nervous.
    You will do fine and your life WILL be changed forever!

    Alyx
    Girl Yes!! it is normal to be nervous. I was nervous all the way up into the O.R. I began to shake. Dr. P asked me if something was wrong or if I was just anxious and I said just anxious and then I woke up and it was over. lol.

    Diana
    1) It is totally normal to feel a bit or a lot nervous. I suggest picturing yourself post-procedure with your happy new normal live! This helped me change my anxiety into excitement! Please trust that Dr. Pacik and his staff know what they are doing at every level.

    #9804
    jasmine07
    Participant

    Hello SP,

    I have not yet shared my story, which I plan to do, however I wanted to “introduce” myself to you. I will be headed to NH next week for my procedure as well! It will be nice to meet and connect with someone who has had a similar experience. I contacted Dr. Pacik’s office to ask some more questions a few days ago (as my anxiety levels were really shooting up!) I, too, am nervous about so many things….

    –Whether it will work or not!
    –Going under anesthesia
    –Dilation/Healing
    –Experience post-procedure

    I requested to speak to someone who had been through the procedure and let me just say–I’m so thankful that I did. What’s even better is that WITHIN HOURS of the request, I had an email from both Dr. Pacik and a fellow “veteran.” which amazed me. I spoke to both of them. Dr. Pacik really took his time with me, and assured me that I could call him ANYTIME. The veteran I spoke to answered all of my questions and kept telling me that it was hands down, the best thing she EVER did and that everything would be GREAT. Speaking to both of them calmed my nerves so much!

    You’re NOT alone. You’re definitely not the only one who fears it not working–because I do too! BUT! We have to have faith! And, we have to have confidence and trust in Dr. Pacik’s experience/knowledge.

    It’s okay that we’re anxious. It’s okay to be nervous. It’s been a struggle, to say the least! Now we’re progressing along the journey in hopes to overcome Vaginismus.

    I look forward to meeting you, and hopefully sharing our success stories post-procedure!

    All the best to both of us!

    #9808
    Bessie
    Participant

    Hi Ladies, I am the 3rd patient for the procedure this week and I’m also nervous! I am excited too though, I really believe that this will be the last treatment that I have to go through for this, and I can’t wait to be ‘normal’ in a few weeks!
    My husband and I have flown here from South Africa for this, so we are a long way from home, but we believe so strongly in the procedure that we really think it will be worth the expense and VERY long flights! I think that we will all just have to work hard with the dilators for mant months to make sure it is successful. Look forward to meeting you both tomorrow!

    #9809
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi sp, Jasmine, and Bessie – I wanted to stop in to welcome you all again to the forum and to wish you the best of luck with your procedures tomorrow. I know that everything is going to go so, so good for you all. I also wanted to share one last tidbit (a prior post from Rachel) in which she so nicely describes the difference in feelings you have from pre-procedure jitters to post-procedure feelings of tremendous happiness and accomplishment. All my best to you all and I can’t wait to read your posts following the procedure.

    Rachel wrote:
    “I remember to this day when I woke up after the procedure giggling to myself because of the medication, to this day I don’t know what I found to be so funny, but it proves to me that I was not distressed in any way which was one of my biggest fears. Before going for the procedure I was soooo nervous that I would be thinking up horror stories in my head about being injected with botox and I would burst in to tears with fear that it wasn’t going to work…but it did and now we are working on having a baby. Dr Pacik and his team were very patient with me even when I asked the same questions over and over again!! So please don’t worry about anything. I know you are coming a long way for this treatment but it is going to be fantastic.”

    #9811
    ESANN
    Participant

    Hi everyone!
    I came across Dr. P’s website and information about 5 months ago and became very interested in his treatment. Like everyone else, I feel like there is not enough information about this condition, and other doctors have made me feel like I can fix the issue on my own. I have read Dr. P’s book, and my husband and I are starting to plan on financially being able to make this trip happen soon. I’ve started the process with the paper work and all, and I think I’ve read just about every bit on information on this site, but I’m still nervous about taking that next step.

    Any advice on how you conquered the fear of actually signing up and booking the trip out to NH would be extremely helpful!
    Thanks!!

    #9812
    Walker
    Participant

    Hi ESANN,
    I just booked my procedure for Dr. P today!!! I tried to get something earlier but he is booked until June. I encourage you to take the leap of faith with me and overcome your fear and schedule an appointment. Vaginismus and the shame has kept us in the dark so long, I am excited to finally have control and overcome it! I talked with Sue today and she was so helpful and nice and kept reassuring me that if I had any questions to please don’t hesitate to contact her. Also you only have to pay 25% when scheduling your date and the remainder is due 3 weeks before the procedure. This is giving me time to save my money and prepare for my final payment and to book my travel arrangements. I also have read almost everything on this website and I finished completing my papers in one day. I Loved Dr. P’s book and finished it in 4 days!!! I couldn’t put it down because it truly described my journey for the last 7 1/2 years of my marriage. I am just so excited and nervous but I know that I can do this. If you book now, we might be able to go on the same day! My advice is to take the leap and finally do something for yourself that will make a difference in the rest of your life.

    #9813
    Sofi
    Participant

    Congratulations Walker!

    To ESANN – I was a bit nervous about making the commitment as well. I live in California and I wondered if it was really worth the trip or if this was all some kind of scam…but reading all the wonderful success stories convinced me that this treatment was the real deal. Then, I just thought about all the years I’ve wasted blaming myself and trying things that didn’t work, and I thought about potentially wasting more years…and then I booked right away!

    I’m 17 days post-treatment and I have no regrets.

    Also in terms of the cost, I used the care credit card so I have 1 year to pay back the treatment without interest. You should check it out if you are worried about the cost, it’s on Dr. P’s website.

    #9815
    jasmine07
    Participant

    Hello all,

    I had my procedure done this morning, just about 9 hours ago. I have already gone through experiencing SO many emotions. Getting to the office I was unusually calm. My nerves kicked in as I got on the OR table. Although things were moving quickly, everyone there was more than comforting. Other than me, there were 6 people in the room including my husband. I began to cry and my anxiety shot up instantly in anticipation of what was to come. I am not sharing this to scare you, but rather to let you know that ALL WILL BE OKAY! The anesthesiologist and a staff member were holding my hands the entire time! I dont think that can be said for most people’s surgical or operative experiences. Dr. Pacik spoke very clearly before every move, explaining what was to be done, and was always asking if I was OK. I think it is very helpful for have your significant other in the room if hey are able to handle it. Watching the procedure, they are truly able to comprehend that the spastic reflecting is entirely involuntary–as you continue to do so while you are asleep.

    I woke up with my legs un-strapped, hands still being held, with no recollection of what had happened over the past half hour. I felt better than good. Also a note to those who also hate mess like TylenolPM or any sort of woozy/drowsy feeling–there was little to no disorientationafter I regained consciousness. I was shocked as to how I had the large blue dilator in with ZERO pain. Of course, as the local anesthetic wears off, it does get to be slightly uncomfortable. Sitting on a stool for lunch with a fellow patient was not very comfortable, but I know that it will be worth the discomfort in the end. You dilate down 2 more sizes on the premises and keep the purple dilator in until the next morning at the counseling session.

    I have to say, I am not nearly as comfortable now as I was coming out of the OR, and I’m sure it may get worse before it gets better. If you are considering this procedure, you really should go through with it. It’s okay to be scared or nervous. You will get through it.

    Something that has truly helped SO much is Dr. Pacik and his amazing staff. I can’t say that enough. And to those who have mentioned thinking this is a scam..plese do not humor the thought any longer. All of us on here advocating are simply so pleased with our experiences–hence why I felt the need to post this THE DAY OF my procedure, even while I sit here in discomfort. I hope to post more as I go through other feelings and emotions.

    I am so pleased with my progress, which makes the discomfort secondary at this time.

    Lastly, it was really nice to meet the other two ladies there for the procedure today. I look forward to getting to know them better tomorrow. Although I wish the pain of vaginismus upon no one, it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone.

    I think I’ll be taking another nap! Hang in there everyone 🙂

    #9816
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi Esann and Walker. Welcome to the forum and I loved reading your posts. Walker, congrats on booking your procedure. It is truly so, so life changing. Esann, congrats on having the courage to post your fears as I’m certain so many other women have the same fears. I want you both to know that we are all here for you. There were truly so many reasons to have this procedure (i.e. to be able to make love to my husband, to be healthy and have gynecological exams, to wear tampons, to feel ‘unbroken’, etc.), but the one thing that helped me to overcome this fear and book the procedure the most was our desire to start a family. We are currently trying to conceive and this was never even discussed or thought about before. Now, it is a very exciting possibility.

    I just read one of the most touching stories from Dr. Pacik’s website regarding this exact pre-procedure fear and would love to share with you:

    “Botox for Vaginismus. Fear of treatment
    by Peter T. Pacik, MD, FACS
    Many patients have considerable fear and worry prior to being treated with Botox for their vaginismus. Often they only know us because of frequent communications and perhaps a telephone call on Skype. Sometimes a patient becomes very nervous as the time of treatment nears.
    I thought the following communications would be helpful to those patients who are having increasing levels of anxiety wondering if they are making the correct decisions, or if the Botox treatment for vaginismus will work for them.
    Below is the communication from a patient in Europe:
    In fact I am not feeling ok this past week. I am always crying. I drive to my work crying, I have to go to the bathroom to cry, I do it alone because I don’t want to put my husband more nervous about this, so I try to handle all by myself. I don’t want to worry to my mother, she is suffering too about this (I told her just about 2 months ago when I knew your treatment), and so I try to handle all alone. It is very difficult to carry this problem alone. My mother says me : be calm, is a simple procedure, you will be ok; but I think that I am getting to this point of despair because I am worried with after work, if I will be able to have or not penetration, and how I will feel it. Because the thought of not be able to be a normal woman is too much for me. I will not support this anymore; I am tired of feeling like rubbish.
    I am feeling a deep deep deep sadness, I am not doing the things I used to do, I avoid go to places, be with my friends, I just want to be alone and cry a lot. I am really down.
    Sorry about this email, but I am really sad. Do you think I should have something to help me manage this sadness? I thought about visit my psychiatrist, but once I will be with you in 2 weeks.. Please tell me your opinion.
    Regards
    We have a lot of wonderful patients who are willing to provide support either by phone or email to help those patients in need prior to their treatment. I sent her concerns as a “blind email” to those patients I thought could help. I was touched by the many responses I received. One such response summarizes the feelings of many:
    Dr. Pacik, here are some thoughts to your patient:
    When I read your email, my heart really began to feel saddened and I began to pray for you because I just wished if even for one moment, my prayers could take all of your pain away. Please know that you are not alone in this. I and countless other women are going through and have gone through very similar things. The saddest part of it all is that there are so many more who continue to suffer in silence and are not even aware of the services that Dr. Pacik and his wonderful staff provide. Everyone is different in their own way and although we all have different backgrounds or experiences that have brought us to making the decision as to whether or not to have the procedure, we ultimately all have one exact thing in common: we each have vaginismus. I myself have had times where I’ve cried continuously because it seems that no one could possibly understand what I was going through. Likewise, I carried the weight on my shoulders alone because I didn’t want to burden anyone because I felt like they would just get tired of hearing me talk about “my problem”. I am so thankful to know that I have been wrong about myself all of these years. I am not a failure (and neither are you); I am not less of a woman because of vaginismus (and neither are you) and most importantly, I am not alone (and neither are you). In making the decision to have the procedure, I have joined a family where there is unconditional love and encouragement even when I couldn’t see past my own pain; you too will soon be a part of the family and welcomed with open arms. For a group of people who initially don’t really know you, to put so much time and investment into you, your life and your well being is more that I could have ever imagined from a doctor and his staff.
    You have made possibly the most important decision of your life in deciding to have this procedure. It has already changed my life for the better and it hasn’t even been a full week yet! I can remember being extremely nervous at exactly what to expect. Yes, I had read the information on the website but I was still full of worry and anxiety. I wondered how I would feel. I kept wondering if I would be able to really follow through with it and thousands of other “what if’s” seemed to cross my mind. But, everything was explained to me once I got to the office and Dr. Pacik and the staff made sure that I was more than comfortable prior to the procedure. After the procedure, I could not believe that I was lying in a bed with the #5 dilator inside of me!! I never would have thought in a million years that I would be able to do such a thing but there I was inserting dilators in and out of my body. It was an amazing experience and I would not take it back for anything in the world. You have more strength inside of you than you have ever given yourself credit for and I believe with my whole heart that you will do just fine and be amazed at what you accomplish in as little as even 24 hours.
    Sincerely,
    Name withheld
    A physical therapist in Manchester, NH wrote this for me to pass along:
    I am a pelvic floor physical therapist and I sent my first vaginismus patient over to Dr. Pacik sometime in October. Her last attempt at intercourse with her husband was a year ago. She had the Botox treatment with Dr. Pacik and has been able to have pain free intercourse ever since. She has been very good about using her dilators everyday, which has made a huge difference in helping her learn to relax her muscles. I was unable to do an effective digital vaginal exam prior to this treatment and the patient is now able to tolerate this without difficulty. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
    The outpouring of help continued:
    My heart just goes out to her. I have included my email message that you may send to her. My email address is okay to give to her too.
    I just want you to know that I’m sorry you’re so stressed about your upcoming procedure with Dr. Pacik. I had it done the end of September. I was nervous about the procedure, but realized when I arrived that I was in good hands. Dr. Pacik and his staff are truly wonderful, caring people. I worried that I would be the first failure after the treatment. I just couldn’t believe that it would work after having so many failures in the past. In my mind, I knew that the muscle spasms needed the Botox to permit penetration. Your muscle spasms will not go away without the Botox. You have everything to gain by having this done. Your life will be so much better, believe me. Your mother is right, it’s a simple procedure. Please don’t shed any more tears, you really will do well. One more thing….90% of what you worry about never comes true, so please relax, do some things that you enjoy doing.
    There were three of us having the procedure done on the same day. As I was coming out of anesthesia, the woman across from me asked if I was doing okay as she was about to have the procedure done. I told her she would be fine. I really was doing better than what I had anticipated. I felt no discomfort after the procedure. My husband was there and I felt like just maybe my vaginismus was behind me. I wanted this procedure to work and I wanted to feel like a “normal” woman.
    Here’s my story….I found out I had vaginismus on my wedding night. My husband and I could not have sex. We tried and tried and nothing happened. I became more and more stressed about it. I could not understand what was wrong with me. I went to my physician and he tried to examine me. I was so very fearful and stressed that he was unable to do the exam. He scheduled me to be under anesthesia so he could perform the exam. He said my muscles were very tight and I had some muscle spasms. He gave me a prescription of Xanax to help me relax. That didn’t help. He also ordered dilators that had slightly pointed tips on them. The dilators were very scary (for lack of a better word) to me. I tried to use them, but made no progress using them. This caused me even more stress. I was starting to feel like a failure. My friends were having babies and I wasn’t able to have sex.
    My physician also suggested a therapist that might be able to assist. We drove 1 1/2 hours every two weeks to have the therapist put headphones on me and I listened to his voice to try and relax. This was a waste of time and did nothing. I went to another therapist who was good in the beginning and then offered to be our “coach” and be there while we tried to have sex. I declined his offer and quit seeing him after that. Another therapist was helpful to me with breathing exercises. Finally, my current therapist is the one who suggested I get on the Internet one more time to see if I could find anyone to help. That is when I found Dr. Pacik’s website.
    Let me backtrack a bit. About three years ago, I saw an article in Women’s World magazine regarding vaginismus and Botox. I was intrigued and took the article to my physician. He said he would have his staff research it. After anxiously waiting for two weeks, he said his staff came up with nothing. I really felt all alone in with this “condition”. I tried to contact OB/GYN physicians, teaching hospitals (UCLA, UC San Diego, Loma Linda University) to see if someone could perform the Botox procedure on me. No one knew anything about vaginismus. These were all trained medical professionals and no one could even refer me or offer advice. It was so difficult for me to even call these places and then have to explain my condition. I was embarrassed and frustrated.
    I felt sad and totally responsible for having vaginismus and I wanted my husband to find someone else. I didn’t want him to have to live like this. He reassured me that there was more to a marriage than just sex and that he loved me. Now, the rest of the story….my husband and I separated 10 years ago because of the vaginismus. We were apart for almost a year. I was very sad and felt helpless because I couldn’t overcome this. We did get back together and this last July we celebrated 26 years of marriage. Yes, you read it right, 26 YEARS! I have waited 26 years for someone to help me with vaginismus. Dr. Pacik is a blessing to me. So, you are very lucky to have found Dr. Pacik and can do something about it to end your vaginismus nightmare. If I can do it after all these years, you can too!
    I am so confident that you will look back at all the stress you’ve created for yourself and wonder WHY did I do that to myself??? Please send me an email when you return home and let me know how you’re doing.
    Have a safe trip to New Hampshire and my thoughts will be with you!
    Love,
    Name withheld”

    #9817
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi Jasmine. Wooooooh … congrats on completing your procedure. I was thinking of the three of you all day today!!! I knew it would go well and the slight discomfort that you are feeling right now is entirely normal and will fade. Wasn’t it a surreal experience waking up with the blue-dilator and having it in pain-free? Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing and can’t wait to read more of your posts. Good luck with the rest of your treatment and you will do GREAT!!!

    #9825
    rachel
    Participant

    Hi Esann,
    I truly was a wreck whilst I was waiting to have the botox procedure. I remember the night before the procedure in the hotel in Manchester freaking out thinking I must be crazy to be allowing someone to put botox into my vagina. I remember Dave my husband trying to wake me up whilst I squinted my eyes shut pretending to be asleep. I knew as soon as I opened my eyes that the day had started and that the whole thing was real…I was actually lying in a hotel room in New Hampshire hours away from having my long awaited procedure. David got tired of waiting for me to wake up so he pulled my ear plugs out knowing that I would wake up from the pop that occurred when he pulled them out…he knew I was stalling! I was very nervous and even though I had read everything about botox from cover to cover and knew that the drugs they would give me would mean I would feel or remember nothing I still asked tons of questions that I already knew the answer too. Being a nurse I was familiar with how most of the procedure would go, but I still needed clarification…answers..so that I could reassure myself that I was doing the right thing. I knew I was doing the right thing but it didn’t stop the nerves. However the team are amazing and very patient. My advice to you would be to leave no question unanswered…every little worry that you have…share it and ask others for answers. If you have to ask the same question 10 times over to 20 different people..do it. I found that doing my own research really helped. I emailed former patients..watched the youtube videos..read articles on botox treatment and read Dr Pacik’s book. I also wrote down my feelings prior to the procedure and if I had a negative thought, I would try and replace it with a positive one. I would write my negative feeling out and then I would try and replace it with a positive thought. For example..this treatment is going to fail on me. Instead I would say, This treatment has helped hundreds of women like me who now are able to have pain free sexual intercourse. I owe it to myself and my husband to give this treatment a chance. I have valuable fears and concerns about the treatment which is normal and I need to address these fears and concerns.

    If you are like me, you will probably feel like you are on a rollor coaster ride prior to the treatment…up and down.. I would cry..freak out and have panic attacks…I even thought I would die during the procedure…dramatic I know!lol When I look back I know that my fears and anxieties were out of control. However, that day I overcame not only vaginismus, but also a major fear/phobia of recieving medications. Can you imagine how scared I was knowing that I was not only going to overcome the vaginismus and have to face that head on, but also in order for me to have any chance of overcoming the vaginismus I had to overcome my biggest fear of medications. To this day I do not know how I got through that day…my husband will tell you that I couldn’t even take a simple antibiotic without thinking I was going to have anaphylaxsis and die! Stupid..I know, but that fear was real to me even though I watch thousands of patients everyday get pumped full of medication and have no problems. I am telling you about this rather embarrassing phobia because I want you to know that if you want something bad enough you will fight for it and sometimes you have to take a risk. I was truly petrified that day but at the same time I knew how happy I would feel coming out the other side. When I woke up I was giggling and when I looked down and saw that dilator I knew it was done..physically and psychologically.

    I hope that you take that leap…yes it’s scary and you will probably have your ups and downs worrying about the treatment and if its going to work. But please don’t feel alone and isolated…ask questions and know that no question is stupid. We are all unique and we all have different worries and concerns that are important to us. I hope this helps…

    Rachel

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