How do you talk to Doctors about Vaginismus?
April 21, 2012 at 11:15 am #8486Heather34Participant
Hi ladies. It is often so difficult to receive a proper diagnosis of vaginismus as physicians do not understand the disorder. This is also complicated further by the fact that it is very difficult to discuss vaginismus in general. Prior to receiving Dr. Pacik’s procedure, I found it close to impossible to try to explain what I had and no doctors seemed to understand. Post-procedure, I have shared information on vaginismus with every single doctor that I’ve had contact with. What helps is being able to provide them with one of Dr. Pacik’s pamphlets which explains the condition and treatment program in detail.
For those women reading this who may also have difficulty talking about vaginismus with their doctors, I found a great article, which includes a script for the conversation. I really hope it helps.
Talking to health care providers about sexual problems can be difficult. Embarrassment, shame and anxiety are often present, making it hard to communicate and obtain appropriate care. Women may need to strongly advocate for themselves, insisting on a full diagnosis from a knowledgeable professional to rule out any other medical condition and properly confirm the vaginismus diagnosis. A medical diagnosis is helpful in removing any doubts or anxiety related to identifying the condition and enables women to have more confidence in moving toward treatment solutions.
Sexual pain disorders like vaginismus are commonly misdiagnosed or left unaddressed. Women may need to be very courageous in persevering until their concerns are given due attention and a reliable medical diagnosis is reached. In some cases and locations, a solid medical diagnosis is not always available or possible. This is especially true in geographic regions with fewer health care options.
Misdiagnosis and the promotion of invasive or unhelpful surgeries are sometimes the unfortunate result of all this confusion. There is no surgery to cure vaginismus. It is very important to seek a second opinion if surgery to “widen” the vaginal opening has been recommended as this does not normally resolve the penetration problem, but instead may further complicate the problem. Unnecessary, invasive, and potentially harmful surgeries and medications have been suggested for women with vaginismus who have not been properly diagnosed. Vaginismus is a highly treatable condition that does not require any invasive procedures.
Many women seeking diagnosis are often simply left undiagnosed and turned away by practitioners who fail to find anything physically wrong and feel there is nothing more they can do. They may not consider a diagnosis of vaginismus due to simple lack of awareness.
TALKING WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
To assist women in obtaining reliable diagnosis for their sexual pain, the following sample script includes helpful tips to prepare for a health care provider visit:
• Introduce the problem: “I have been having problems with pain during sex and hope you will be able to help me.”
• Provide a description of the pain (be specific): “It happens when my husband tries insert his penis in my vagina” or “once he is inside and starts to move I feel burning and tighten up”, etc.
• The pain is located “at the entrance to my vagina. My vagina is like a wall; he just cannot get it in.” or “after he is inside I feel burning around the penis just inside the entrance”, etc.
• The pain lasts “as long as he keeps trying, especially if we try forcing it in. Once he stops there is no pain.”
• This has been happening since “our honeymoon two years ago and has continued to happen every time we try to have sex” (primary vaginismus) or “my hysterectomy eight months ago”(secondary vaginismus), etc. Note: Inform your health care provider if you have been able to previously have sexual intercourse without pain.
• It feels like “burning”, “stinging”, “like he’s hitting a wall”, “tightness during/on entry”, etc.
• I have tried to reduce or eliminate the pain by “using lubricant, changing sexual positions, relaxing more.”
• I am able / unable to “insert a tampon or complete a gynecological exam.”
Mention any past problems:
• Have you previously had any sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infections, bladder problems, or any pelvic pain outside of penetration?
• Mention any past sexual abuse.
State what you think the problem is: “I think it may be vaginismus. My symptoms are similar to those outlined in an article I read.””
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