Pain after dilating

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    Hello all,

    Thanks so much for sharing here, I am new and think it is great we can support each other through this.
    I am experiencing extreme pain after using my smallest dilator for only 5 minutes. The pain lasts for days and spreads from inside me to my butt, lower back, and thigh. Has anyone else experienced this?
    My physical therapist has had me reduce time from 15 minutes to 5 every other day. I have not had any procedure. I am not on any pain medication. I have other health issues that make over the counter pain meds not an option. She has me use a heating pad and ice packs which are not helping!


    Hi vina. Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your past. I’m so sorry for your struggles with vaginismus. I, too, struggled with it for so many years in the past which included my entire 11-year relationship/5-year marriage. I am so, so sorry that you are experiencing the extreme pain that you describe with dilation. I have never experienced the pain you describe as I was never able to insert even a q-tip prior to my procedure despite how hard I tried. Post-procedure, I felt generalized discomfort at different times with the dilators and would always back down one size and dilate for a less amount of time. Then, I would try the bigger sizes a few days later when I wasn’t as sore and with loads of lubricant and this worked well.

    As for ways of reducing your pain right now without pain medication, I found an article that thoroughly describes techniques, including relaxation, imagery, and distraction.

    “How Do I Use Relaxation?
    Slow rhythmic breathing:
    • Stare at an object or close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing or on a peaceful scene.
    • Take a slow, deep breath and, as you breathe in, tense your muscles (such as your arms).
    • As you breathe out, relax your muscles and feel the tension draining.
    • Now remain relaxed and begin breathing slowly and comfortably, concentrating on your breathing, taking about 9 to 12 breaths a minute. Do not breathe too deeply.
    • To maintain a slow, even rhythm as you breathe out, you can say silently to yourself, “In, one, two; out, one, two.” It may be helpful at first if someone counts out loud for you. If you ever feel out of breath, take a deep breath and then continue the slow breathing exercise. Each time you breathe out, feel yourself relaxing and going limp. If some muscles are not relaxed such as your shoulders, tense them as you breathe in and relax them as you breathe out. You need to do this only once or twice for each specific muscle group.
    • Continue slow, rhythmic breathing for a few seconds up to 10 minutes, depending on your need.
    • To end your slow rhythmic breathing, count silently and slowly from one to three. Open your eyes. Say silently to yourself: “I feel alert and relaxed.” Begin moving about slowly.
    Other methods you can add to slow rhythmic breathing:
    • Imagery.
    • Listen to slow, familiar music through an earphone or headset.
    • Progressive relaxation of body parts. Once you are breathing slowly and comfortably, you may relax different body parts, starting with your feet and working up to your head. Think of words such as limp, heavy, light, warm, or floating. Each time you breathe out, you can focus on a particular area of the body and feel it relaxing. Try to imagine that the tension is draining from that area. For example, as you breathe out, feel your feet and ankles relaxing; the next time you breathe out, feel your calves and knees relaxing, and so on up your body.
    Relaxation tapes: Ask your doctor or nurse to recommend commercially available relaxation tapes. These tape recordings provide step-by-step instructions in relaxation techniques.”
    “How Do I Use the Technique of Imagery?
    Usually, imagery for pain relief is done with the eyes closed. A relaxation technique may be used first. The image can be something such as a ball of healing energy or a picture drawn in your mind of yourself as a person without pain (for example, imagine that you are cutting wires that transmit pain signals from each part of your body to your brain). Here is an exercise with the first image – the ball of energy. It is a variation of the technique credited to Dr. David Bresler at the Pain Control Unit, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
    • Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and feel yourself relax.
    • Concentrate on your breathing. Breathe slowly and comfortably from your abdomen.
    • As you breathe in, say silently and slowly to yourself:
    “In, one, two.” As you breathe out, say: “Out, one, two.” Breathe in this slow rhythm for a few minutes.
    • Imagine a ball of healing energy forming in your lungs or on your chest. It may be like a white light. It can be vague. It does not have to be vivid. Imagine this ball forming, taking shape.
    • When you are ready, imagine that the air you breathe in blows this healing ball of energy to the area of your pain. Once there, the ball heals and relaxes you.
    • When you breathe out, imagine the air blows the ball away from your body. As it goes, the ball takes your pain with it. (Be careful: Do not blow as you breathe out; breathe out naturally.)
    • Repeat the last two steps each time you breathe in and out.
    • You may imagine that the ball gets bigger and bigger as it takes more and more discomfort away from your body.
    • To end the imagery, count slowly to three, breathe in deeply, open your eyes, and say silently to yourself: “I feel alert and relaxed.” Begin moving about slowly.”
    “How Can I Use Distraction?
    Any activity that occupies your attention can be used for distraction. If you enjoy working with your hands, crafts such as needlework, model building, or painting may be useful. Losing yourself in a good book might divert your mind from the pain. Going to a movie or watching television are also good distraction methods. Slow, rhythmic breathing can be used for distraction as well as relaxation. You may find it helpful to listen to rather fast music through a headset or earphones. To help keep your attention on the music, tap out the rhythm. You can adjust the volume to match the intensity of pain, making it louder for very severe pain. This technique does not require much energy, so it may be very useful when you are tired.”

    I hope this helps and please know that we are all here to support you. Ladies, what additional advice do you have for Vina here?

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