Husband/Partner participating with dilating

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  • #8660
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    Hi ladies. One of the most anxiety-provoking things for me pre-procedure was the thought of using the dilators. I had previously ordered dilators and a workbook about vaginismus and was unable to insert any of the dilators despite how hard I tried, how much I relaxed, or how much I wanted to. My worry at the time was if this had never worked for me before, what would be different and how would it ever work this time? I couldn’t have been more wrong. My way of thinking and attitude entirely changed once I woke up with the dilator actually inside of me. I knew that it had worked and something was inside of me for the first time pain-free. I then was able to remove the dilator and re-insert it several times pain-free! What was very important for me on day 1 was allowing my husband to be an active participant with the dilating. I was so shy and reluctant to do this in the beginning as I had always considered it my own problem to fix. However, with a little encouragement, I decided to allow him to participate. I can’t stress enough how important this was for us. For me personally, I trusted him more and more and no longer automatically associated him with causing pain. For him, he was so happy and shocked to see that something was inside of me pain-free and it helped him to know that he would no longer cause me pain with our attempts at intercourse. It also just felt so, so good to work as a team to overcome this problem that I had thought was solely mine to fix for so long. What have been your own experiences with involving your husband/partner in this process? What advice can you give to future patients awaiting their procedures?

    #10473
    elliotte
    Participant

    For us, I dilate my wife every night. It is day 31 for us and she is working with the #4, and #5 glass with low levels of pain and anxiety once it is in place. The reason we do it this way, is that her anxiety is still very high before we dilate. But everyday she is making progress. This week the plan is to start on the #6 glass. My advice from the male point of view is that it does bring the couple closer! It is a great way to build trust, and it also allows her to communicate about how she feels. It helps me to understand a little bit better whats going on mentally as well. Then we can talk those things out and continue to develop new plans to overcome those issues. It is indeed a voyage, but im very happy that my wife trust me enough to help out. I know that each situation is different, but if both people are patient with each other, it will allow both people to draw closer to each other.

    #10475
    coffee
    Participant

    I agree my anxiety to me is still real high at times, so my husband has been dilating with me, he does all the insertions for me, sorry i have not been blogging for awhile been mentally tired and drained. I feel I am progressing somewhat at a slower pace, i will start to see my physical therapist and my mental therapist as well to help with some anxiety issues. My Husband has been excellent, I am still not able to dilate myself.

    #10491
    mmHeather34
    Moderator

    To coffee and elliotte, you are making amazing, amazing progress and I am so proud of you. You are doing just beyond amazing with the dilating. Here is a prior thread that describes how wonderful it is to move beyond the wall that prevented all of us from having successful penetration in the past.

    “Breaking down my wall
    Arose – Whilst we have not transitioned to intercourse yet and I am still working with the dilators, this is such a success story for me that I just had to post it! I tried working with dilators for four or five years before my treatment with Dr Pacik this month. Whilst I made some progress with it (at one stage I was able to get up to the largest one), the progress was not adequate or sustainable because (as so many of you are familiar with), my muscles put up such a hard brick wall insertion was either impossible, or took me hours to achieve! And of course, intercourse with my husband has always been impossible. Even after the treatment, I was still battling to get the dilators past the wall… when I first got back home after our trip, I panicked that the botox was not going to work on me because I was still experiencing this problem as before, but over the following week, whilst it was still there, it because more easily crossable, and whilst there was some discomfort, the pain was only with the insertion, slight and very bearable. Last night, however, I found for the first time ever that the wall was not there!! I was able to easily insert the dilator without having to battle with this, and it went smoothly in. This was just with the small purple one, but a massive achievement and gave me so much hope. I’ve tried again this morning with the pink (going straight from the purple which I slept with), and the same was the case, and with zero pain! I will try the blue shortly, but as this ‘d-routine’ is such a roller coaster ride with so many ups and downs, I wanted to savour and share this progress whilst still on a high. I’m sure I will have more difficult days, but this has given me real hope that intercourse will soon be achievable!! Good luck to all you ladies who are somewhere on this journey… even if at present you still think it is impossible, with perseverance, and with the help of Dr P and his team, you will make progress!

    Dr. Pacik – Post procedure dilation is a “roller coaster” ride during the first 1-2 weeks after treatment. The muscles are still tight and “talking back” as they are being stretched. Since most women feel they will be the one person for whom Botox does not work, any difficulty with dilation immediately verifies these feelings. Then the muscles loosen up as the Botox is taking effect and the week or two of dilation is starting to be noticeable with less pain and therefore less anxiety.

    Silverperl – Dr. Pacik is correct that dilating early on is a roller coaster ride. You are making progress and definitely celebrate every success! Even once you start trying intercourse you will have days where it goes smoothly and days where you wonder if the procedure worked. Stay positive and keep trying. I remember thinking will intercourse ever not have to be a “robotic” process. A little over 3 years now from my procedure I can tell you I rarely have to worry or get prepared to have intercourse. You are doing great and soon you will not even think about all the dilating and struggle. :)”

    Keep up the GREAT work and we are all here to support you both!

    #10493
    coffee
    Participant

    Thank you so much for that post it was very encouraging!!!!!!!! I still worry so much about the dilators as well as intercourse. Thanks so much, it has been a month for me since post procedure, i would have thought my anxiety would have lessen or my nerves, hopefully in time it will.

    #10498
    Nakitalab
    Participant

    I had my treatment today and looking forward to the counseling session tomorrow as trust is a huge challenge for me, including with my husband. Not from anything that he has done to me but from previous experiences before I met him. I think it is so great that so many of you can let your husband or boyfriends help you with the dilating. I know that both my husband and I would count it a blessing when I can get to that level of trust with him. Coffee, I’m so inspired by your post and so thankful that you posted on the forum. I can relate to feeling mentally drained and tired as I too stopped ready the forum up until right before my treatment today. I was letting the old negative feelings creep in on me that i will be the person that it wont work for. I’m just beginning this process but I want you to know I’m here for you and can share my email address with you if you ever feel comfortable. Sending you a big virtual hug…

    #10504
    elliotte
    Participant

    Hi Nakitalab. I would like to add to Coffee post. Even though she would have thought the anxiety would have lessen, she has made huge progress! Ellen really had to work with her to dilate when we were in Manchester. She would not let me do it the first 2 days after the procedure. But before we left Manchester, I was able to dilate her with Dr. Pacik. Ever since that day, she has made progress everyday. For example, in the office, we had a system of her holding one leg and I would hold the other. We did that for a couple of days. After that, she just opened her legs on her own. I never have to touch her legs now, just hold her hand. I let her know if she has them open enough so it will be comfortable for her. Sometimes she needs a few moments, but she ALWAYS dilates. Another example is that at first, she would take about 5 to 10 minutes to insert the dilator, now it takes less than a minute. We used to have to start with the #2 silicone, now we start with #4 glass. And now, she is sleeping with the #5 glass with plans to go to the # 6 glass in about a week! We talk about this a lot, but I wish my wife would celebrate the success she is making and just know that the rest will take care of itself. I can’t imagine the level of anxiety she is going through. But I am committed to to be whatever she needs me to be to help her overcome this. I’m sure your husband feels the same way. It is very surprising how much you can feel through the dilators. I can feel when she is tense. I will ask her to do a kegel. Or I will just wait till the muscles in her thighs relax. And Even though her vaginal muscles are getting loose, we still go slow so she can be as relaxed as possible. Ellen was and has been a HUGE help. They have coached me every step of the way to help Coffee and I get to where we are today. Dr. Pacik has also gave me lots of tips on what to do. Everything I’m doing is what they have showed me, told me, or I observed them do. And they will do the same for you and your husband. The next few days will clear up a lot of your concerns. I know you will progress at a pace that will be great for you and your husband. I encourage you to stay the course. In this race we are all winners as long as we don’t give up.

    #10508
    Dr. Pacik
    Participant

    Thanks Elliotte for your meaningful and sensitive post.
    Nakitalab-today we will be working on giving up control. When we have had severe injuries in the past it is little wonder we need to stay in control to avoid repeat injury. This is something that will take time, patience and trust. Control ties in with high anxiety and both can be difficult to conquer, long after dilation has been successful. As one of my patients said: “I need to catch up mentally to where I am physically”. Sometimes, especially with long term vaginismus, this can be frustrating. Professional counseling, including hypnosis can be of great value.

    #10590
    Myra Durkin
    Participant

    My name is Myra Durkin, and I’m a licensed clinical social worker in the Boston area. I am certified in clinical (or medical) hypnosis, and have been doing it for 19 years. I agree with everything Dr. Pacik said. Clinical hypnosis is extremely effective in treating anxiety of all kinds in a short time, enabling profound , lasting changes. I treated a vaginismus pt. recently who had never been able to have sexual intercourse. She learned about Dr. Pacik’s program, but could not do it because of crippling anxiety. We did several sessions of hypnosis around her anxiety, and after that she was able to enter the program, finish it successfully, and have intercourse with no problems. Clinical hypnosis is often misunderstood; it’s just like deep guided meditation, but is much more specific in treating different problems. If you want to consult me or have questions about this, please email me at myradurkinlicsw@myradurkin.com or call me at 617-628-7155.

    #10595
    Nakitalab
    Participant

    Yesterday was day 8 post op and last night I let my husband help me insert the dilators. I would like to say it was a piece of cake but I was extremely nervous with my butt cheeks squeezing on their own so tightly. Trust is a huge issue for me. But with patience and time I was able to have him hold my hand while I inserted each dilator. With #4 I let him turn it a few times and in all three times I let him remove them. I had to keep telling myself to relax my touche. When I had #6 in, he held it into place for me and I slowly, removed my gripping hand from his (that was holding the dilator). Thank you Elliott for your advice. It really helped.

    #10600
    Allie
    Participant

    That’s awesome! I know it had to be tough for you. Way to go! 🙂

    #10617
    Nakitalab
    Participant

    Thanks Allie!

    #10642
    coffee
    Participant

    Finally number 6 went in, very uncomfortable and tight had alot of throbbing and soreness afterwards. Just thought i would let everyone know, and i will continue to dilate till i can tolerate number 6. Anyone else experience this? Any suggestions?

    #10644
    Nakitalab
    Participant

    That is awesome, Coffee! You didn’t give up! That is great. #6 was uncomfortable and sometimes throbbed for me too but I have found that making sure that I’m dilating with it every day for a minimum of 10-15 minutes twice a day has caused my muscle to get used to it and it has been so much easier the last couple of days. I’m now able to leave it in for 30 minutes. I know there will be days when it may not go as easy but that is ok, there is always tomorrow. I think the trick is to be consistent with dilating and to try not to get down on yourself and frustrated. If I have a day where it is hurting I don’t leave it in as long and then see if I can leave it in a little longer the next time. You are doing great Coffee!

    #10646
    Janet Pacik
    Participant

    Nakitalab, that is excellent advice to Coffee! That is exactly what she should be doing! Keep up the good work Cofee and Nakitalab!!!

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