June 19, 2015 at 10:21 am #9363HazelParticipant
Hi! I just had my procedure done on June 15th. I was encouraged to tell my story on the forum if I was comfortable doing so, so here goes…
I knew there was something not quite right ever since the age of 12. I had an incredibly heavy menstrual cycle when I first started and had to be taken to the hospital on my family’s vacation. The woman who was taking care of my case told me I had to have a pap smear, and at that age I had no clue what that was. My mom was over talking to another person at the hospital and I kept asking the woman, “What is that? What’s going to happen?” She would just answer, “Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine. Just relax.” All I wanted was for her to explain what she was going to do, but then suddenly she was “in there” with a pediatric speculum. I screamed and cried and finally she said she was done since it was so painful unless the doctor wanted to come in and do more. After that I had a ton of nightmares about people trying to sneak in my room at night to give me an exam with all kinds of objects. (I had an active imagination apparently!) I was a very private person and didn’t want to talk about what happened, so it probably didn’t help to hold in everything either.
I grew up deciding that I wanted to wait to have intercourse until marriage, and since my cycle calmed down with birth control, I could pretty much put my issues on the back burner. When I got married several years ago, I didn’t want to admit to myself that there might be a problem on the honeymoon. Sure enough, when we tried penetration was impossible – like “hitting a wall.” Over the years I tried going to multiple gynecologists who mostly did not understand the problem. Finally I found one who was understanding and she told me that I had basically experienced medical abuse as a child. Unfortunately she retired shortly after that! Then the next gynecologist I saw told me about vaginismus, a term I had never heard before. I had never known there was an actual medical term for what I was experiencing. She gave me a pamphlet and I ended up buying two sets of dilators. I tried doing Kegels and using the dilators. There were days I would be lying on the bed trying to insert the tiny smallest dilator for 2 hours, with absolutely no success.
During this time I found this website. I looked at the forums constantly but didn’t contribute. I read all of the information about the procedure, but I was overwhelmed and freaked out. It took me something like 3 years to finally schedule my appointment. It went really well. Dr. Pacik was very kind and patient and took the time to answer all of our questions. The procedure itself was actually a piece of cake and I woke up not feeling a thing. The dilating part after the procedure is more of a challenge, but it is definitely doable. I went from not being able to insert the smallest dilator myself to being able to put in #3 and #4. It was huge progress for me, which is so exciting. I honestly do think that by having this procedure and following the dilating schedule I will finally be able to be intimate with my husband. Good things are ahead!June 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm #13808luluParticipant
My procedure is in a few weeks.
I have been anxious about sharing my story but thought I would since your story is very similar to mine.
I never had a pap smear until I was 18 but an external examination when I was very young (around 7 years old) stuck with me. My mom was in the room so nothing inappropriate happened. However, I think it scarred me and I think that may be when everything initially started and it escalated from there. I remember getting upset and trying to fight the doctor off. I had always been told to not let people touch me and there a doctor was touching me. I also had an active imagination (similar to what you mentioned) which certainly made things worse. I wish mind over matter worked but our minds are powerful. Each milestone validated my fears more. My period. Intimacy. Exams. I can have exams but they obviously hurt and are extremely uncomfortable. I also have been a lurker on this site and forum for probably three or four years. Dr. Pacik’s retirement lit a fire under me. I knew it was now or possibly never. I am tired of waiting around for my brain and body to agree. It is time to make them.
I have been thinking a lot lately and this condition, at least for me, isolates you in more ways than you realize sometimes. I am an honest person and I feel like this condition forces me to lie. I dislike lying but it is not easy to talk about. Even though there is no way anyone I do not want to know knows, I sometimes feel like a fraud. I am a private person and would not be telling everyone and anyone about my sex life anyway. However, feeling like you cannot talk about it like other woman can is another reason vaginismus is isolating. I also feel like it isolates my husband. He is a private person as well and if he knew I was writing this would tell me he has no interest in people knowing about our love life. Still, he has had that taken away from him. He never makes me feel that way but it is hard not to.
I know you will continue to do well and look forward to hearing about your progress. Thank your for sharing your story.June 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm #13809HazelParticipant
Thanks so much, Lulu. You are brave to share your story. I am happy that we are able to talk about this on the forum. You’re right, it’s incredibly isolating.
I remember several years ago I tried to talk about this with one of my best friends from high school who had also recently wed. When I began talking about it she literally said, “ew” and the conversation stopped. Um, okay! The only people I feel I can talk about this to are my husband, my mom, and the people involved in this forum. But at the same time I know that the word needs to get out because otherwise people will continue to be uneducated about vaginismus.
I think you will be so happy that you decided to schedule the procedure. It has already done a world of good for me and it has only been 3 days. I hope you and your husband have a wonderful experience and a safe trip to NH.June 28, 2015 at 10:53 am #13812Dr. PacikParticipant
Thank you both for sharing your experiences. Hazel you are doing great with your progressive dilation. I am very happy that you were able to conquer the smaller and mid range dilators, it is just a function of time before you can advance to the larger dilators. There is no “normal” time to achieve the larger dilation, it is more like physical therapy which we all know is a slow process in stretching muscles.
Lulu thank you also for sharing and helping others understand that vaginismus is a medical condition. There is no need to be embarrassed about any medial condition. The only important thing is to be able to get professional help for whatever bothers us. If more women spoke out vaginismus would not be so unknown. My bet is that if you tell your friends at least one of them will share that they too have painful intercourse. Keep sharing!October 2, 2015 at 9:58 am #13887Heather34Moderator
Hi Hazel and Lulu. Thank you so, so much for sharing your stories. I’ve spoken to you both in another thread but I wanted to chime-in here as well as I am spending some time catching up since my break on the Forum. I, too, had primary vaginismus for all of my 20s and into my early 30s up until 2011. Please know that you have found an excellent place of support and you are not alone with this problem at all. Currently, there are over 785 Forum members who have all either had, currently have, or in some way are affected by vaginismus. Together, we can all learn from each other and be an excellent community of support. For all of the years that I had vaginismus, I told none of my closest girlfriends and it was very, very isolating. I currently don’t want a single person to feel like I did back then and, again, want you to know that you have my support 100%! How are things currently going for the two of you?
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