April 6, 2020 at 10:16 pm #27189
Hi, my name is Arch and I’m 32. I was recently diagnosed with vaginismus about 4 months ago when I went to my gynae for a pap smear test for the first time. I got married in June last year. I was not sexually active before marriage. When my husband and I tried having intercourse during our honeymoon, it was painful for me and he described it as hitting a wall and not not being able to move any further. We thought it was common for the first time to be painful. But it was the same every time we tried and we have not been able to achieve penetration. He is only able to insert the tip of his penis at best. After the diagnosis, I have been doing research on the condition and was very happy to have found this forum. I followed up with my gynae and have been referred to the pelvic floor physical therapy at the women’s hospital in my area. However given the current Covid situation, the clinic is closed and I will have to wait for it to reopen before I can make an appointment. My husband and I really want to get pregnant as soon as possible too. We thought of trying artificial insemination at home using a syringe. But inserting even the small syringe is difficult for me as I am afraid of the pain. While he has been very understanding from the beginning, my husband is now quite frustrated that things are not improving. I know that the condition is treatable and there are so many ladies out there who have overcome the condition with treatment. But can’t help feeling a little helpless right now and wondering if I can overcome it. Just wanted to get it out of my system and share with others who are going through a similar situation.April 6, 2020 at 10:23 pm #27190
My gynae has also prescribed valium to be inserted into the vagina before attempting penetrative intercourse. I have not tried it yet. Has anyone used valium and does it work in reducing the pain? I do note that even if it does, it is only temporary relief and does not replace proper treatment. But just wondering if it offers sufficient relief from the pain to have intercourse?April 7, 2020 at 9:10 am #27191mazemelissaModerator
Hi Arch! Welcome to the forum.
Intravaginal valium can be very helpful for some to help relax the vaginal muscles, but in my experience it works best when used every night, so that the muscles are exposed to the medication, and there is a cumulative effect of the medication on the muscles to keep them in a more relaxed state.
I would definitely try it, but maybe use it for several nights in a row first and then attempt penetration. You might still experience discomfort, but if the vaginal valium is working, you should feel penetration is easier, less of the brick wall feeling.
If you don’t have a set of dilators, I would for sure purchase one since you won’t be going to pelvic floor PT right away.
I also love Heather Jeffcoat’s guide, Sex without Pain, she is a PT and has written a short guidebook for dilation and treatment of vaginismus. It is available on amazon. She uses the Syracuse medical dilators, or the CMT dilators, they are hard plastic, and very smooth, and come in 9 different sizes, so you can start really small. But you can also purchase a silicone dilator kit, like pure romance, soul source or any another available to you. I would not recommend the vaginismus.com dilators, I really don’t think that they are as good a product as other kits on the market.
As for insemination, you can for sure continue to try to use a syringe. Sperm do swim, so you can continue to have sex with your partner ejaculating at the entrance to your vagina, with the hopes that some get in and find their way up to the uterus, it can happen, odds are low, but I have seen it work.
If you are really anxious about penetration, you can also think about starting an antianxiety medication daily, something like Zoloft, lexapro, prozac, something to bring generalized anxiety down, which can be very helpful when you are working toward penetration. Zoloft is safe to take when pregnant, so that is the medication that I usually recommend for my patients to start, so they can remain on it if they are finding it helpful.
Keep us updated on how you are doing. And I hope you find this forum helpful, you are not alone in this!
MelissaApril 7, 2020 at 2:23 pm #27192Jennifer Dembo, LMSWParticipant
Hi Arch 456,
We’re so glad you found us, and we’re so glad you reached out!
I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling – such a frustrating situation for both you and your husband. And then on top of everything, COVID19. I admire you for your perseverance in seeking treatment under very difficult circumstances.
This LTT (long-term temporary) will indeed pass, so doing what you can now (as per Melissa’s suggestions, above) will help prime your body for future pelvic floor PT appointments and other potential modalities.
Sexual pain is challenging for so many reasons – one of them is the patience that is required for healing. Vaginismus especially requires time – this is a all a process that cannot be rushed. You and/or your husband might reframe the experience by appreciating that every step you take – at your own pace and in your own time – is one step closer to improved sexual health for you and better sex for you both!April 7, 2020 at 11:09 pm #27209
Thank you for your advice and suggestions Melissa. I think I will continue trying to use the syringe as far as it goes. And also use the valium as suggested to attempt penetration. I would like to see if it helps penetration further than what we have managed thus far.
I have been looking at dilators and do intend to buy a set to use in conjunction with pelvic floor PT. But there are so many different types (plastic, glass, silicone) and sizes. I figured it might be better to see a physical therapist first and get a recommendation on which would be most suitable for me. But from your experience, how would you normally advise someone on which dilators to pick?
Thanks again.April 7, 2020 at 11:18 pm #27224
Thank you for your kind message Jennifer. It helps to know that there are others out there who have the same condition and have managed to cure the condition through treatment. This forum has been helpful in answering alot of the questions I have had. I have also forwarded my husband the thread for partners, hoping that it helps him understand the condition better, see how partners can be supportive and gives him hope reading about success stories of overcoming the condition.April 8, 2020 at 10:25 am #27239mazemelissaModerator
In my experience most physical therapists in our area use the hard plastic dilators like the Syracuse medical dilators.
Here are two sites where you can purchase them:
Sometimes women need to try out different types of dilators to see what works well for them.
I really don’t like the vaginismus.com set, so I would avoid that one.
You can purchase the Syracuse medical dilators one at a time, or in a set. You can start with just getting the first two sizes and see how you do.
I’d also consider getting Heather Jeffcoat’s book, as she uses the Syracuse medical dilators in her book, and it is a good guide.
You can wait until you see the physical therapist, but that could be months away. It wouldn’t be too large of an investment to purchase the two smallest dilators and the guide book and see how you do on your own. If you continue to make progress, you can continue to purchase the dilators as you go along.
The silicone dilators and the glass dilators work really well for some, but they are usually more expensive. So as a start, I usually recommend the Syracuse medical dilators, as they are less expensive, and work well for many.
Hope this helps. MelissaApril 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm #27311Leslie Turner, WHNP, CNMParticipant
Congratulations on reaching out for support, for both yourself and your husband.
I second Melissa’s recommendation to read Heather Jeffcoat’s Book, Sex without Pain. It is essentially a workbook that guides women how to get started with dilation; it is very informative and easy to read. She does a great job explaining how the muscles react with vaginismus and details the steps you can take to move through the dilation process. She’s very knowledgable and encouraging, as she has extensive experience as a pelvic floor PT. It’s a great place to start.
Keep us posted!April 12, 2020 at 11:04 pm #27470recessivegenequeenParticipant
Hi Arch, welcome to the forums! I’m a former vaginismus sufferer for about 10 years (eventually got successful treatment at Maze) and I totally feel for the position you’re in – especially in terms of wanting to get treatment now! The coronavirus situation in particular is frustrating, but I want to enthusiastically agree with the advice of getting some super-small dilators to try so you can start working on your own. Even if you aren’t able to make progress with the dilators, when you get out of quarantine and can see a pelvic floor specialist, you’ll come into that conversation already armed with more knowledge of how severe your vaginismus is and the specialist can more efficiently recommend new strategies to try. I know how hard it is to feel like you have to keep being patient when you’ve been dealing with this issue for so long, but curing vaginismus is a gradual journey, and like Jennifer said, it’s important to take it one step at a time and honor the journey you’re on. You will get there little by little and every win is important.
Please let us know how it goes and what questions you have. It’s an especially isolating time in the world right now, but so many women have felt how you’re feeling now (including me) and we are here for you however you need. Good luck!
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