PTSD & Vaginismus
October 14, 2017 at 10:10 pm #21961Swimmer30Participant
I’m new here. I was just wondering whether someone can help me. I have c-ptsd. I am scared of general physical touch…would doing any sort of dilation help me? I don’t know if I have vaginismus, but I’d assume based off of general description (unable to use tampons…), I’d qualify. I tend to avoid doctors altogether, but I doubt a gyn exam would be possible.October 16, 2017 at 3:26 pm #21962Aimee Goldman, RWHNPMember
Hi Swimmer30-Welcome to the forum. At Maze, our treatment plan usually involves meetings with a therapist along with dilation. It is equally important to address the psychosocial aspect of Vaginismus along with the physical part of Vaginismus. They most often go hand in hand..
Keep in mind that you are not alone and you can be helped.October 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm #21965Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWParticipant
Thanks for writing to us. Aimee is completely correct. Vaginismus is physical, but also has psychological and emotional components that are important to acknowledge and address. I think trying to find the right combination of psychological and physical support is very important.October 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm #21966Rachel Hercman, LCSWParticipant
So glad you’re here! Vaginismus is the kind of condition that has different components.
Know that there is help possible and we have seen many get to the other side of this!October 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm #21977recessivegenequeenParticipant
Hi Swimmer! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with PTSD and vaginismus – as a former vaginismus sufferer I can say I know how difficult it can be. I want to give a big endorsement to the Maze clinic, who are especially adept at handling vaginismus as both a psychological and physical issue (which it is). Different people with vaginismus have totally different experiences of it, and the first thing that happened when I paid the clinic a visit was that I had a long conversation with someone who asked about my full sexual history, my feelings, my discovery of vaginismus, and so on. They really care about your individual experiences and how those will effect which kind of treatment will work best (for example, they could tell pretty quickly that my vaginismus was severe enough that I would need a plan involving the botox treatment rather than a dilation-only approach.
If you feel your PTSD is severe enough that you can’t even stand regular physical touch, I think therapy would be something definitely worth considering even if it’s not specifically in conjunction with a vaginismus treatment plan. If your life and mental health are being negatively impacted on a daily basis, you don’t deserve to live with that kind of pain. Seeking treatment is a scary thing, and often the hardest part is just embarking on the journey by taking the first step, but we are all here cheering you on, and we are happy to answer any questions that come up along the way!November 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm #22153Heather34Moderator
Hi Swimmer. I am so sorry for what you are going through. As the others have written, please know that you’re not alone with this at all and have our support. I had vaginismus all during my 20s and into my early 30s. I ended up having the Botox treatment program with Dr. Pacik in NH. Dr. P trained the Maze group and they offer the Botox treatment program as well as other treatments for vaginismus. One of the key parts of their treatment, like Dr. P’s was for me, is they focus on both the physical as well as the emotional parts of the condition and fully treat both. Also, and so importantly for me and others, they, like Dr. P, understand everything about the condition of vaginismus and do not act as other providers have in the past suggesting to “just relax”; “it’s all in your head”; etc.
I also wanted to share one of my favorite past blogs from Dr. P in which he describes both the physical and emotional aspects of vaginismus treatment:
The 1,2,3 Punch
“The first punch is the injection of Botox under anesthesia. This is the knockout punch for the spastic muscle at the entry of the vagina (the “closed fist”). It will be unable to recover for about four months. The second punch is the progressive dilation under anesthesia, stretching the tight muscle(s). Once these muscles are weakened and stretched under anesthesia, the continued post treatment dilation keeps these muscles stretched. The third punch is reduction of anxiety. It is well known that fear and anxiety play an important role in continued spasm of the entry muscle. The brain says “PAIN“, the vagina responds with a protective reflex “NO ENTRY“. Once fear and anxiety lessen and women are able to tolerate penetration as well as having comfortable pain free intercourse, this protective reflex appears to diminish, and the reflexive spasm of the vaginal muscles appears to disappear.” It goes on to describe the importance of post-procedure care: “The three punches described must be combined with careful post-procedure monitoring, which includes the review of daily logs to help patients with their post-procedure dilation program. The counseling done after treatment is of utmost importance to help women understand what needs to be done when they return home and the steps needed to succeed in having pain free intercourse.”
Please know that you have my full support.December 20, 2017 at 10:41 am #22262Sks823Participant
Welcome to the forum!
I just wanted to give some more encouragement. It can be a stressful journey, but I am confident that with the right psychological support you WILL be able to use dilators and they can help you overcome your vaginismus. I am so, so sorry to hear about your C-PTSD, and I hope you are able to see a therapist about your issues with physical touch. That is a good first step in eventually using dilators and overcoming vaginismus.
I was unable to use dilators on my own when I bought them, but I went to Maze Women’s Clinic in NYC (you may be able to find another women’s health clinic in other areas that offers physical therapy with dilators). I still was unable to use the dilators the first couple sessions because of extreme fear, and worked with their therapist and their health practitioner and eventually overcame my vaginismus. While I didn’t use it, the Botox treatment that Heather34 posted about may also be a good option for you.
I wish you luck with your psychological and physical journey to overcome vaginismus. If you ever need someone to chat with, I would be happy to e-mail you back and forth through your journey!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and good luck!
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