Recovery set backs

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    Hi everyone.
    I have had Vaginismus for about 10 years now and I recently decided to see a sex therapist. After about 4 weeks, I was happy to see some progress and was able to insert my finger and 2 small dilators- something I never thought would be possible.
    However, yesterday I had to have a last minute vaginal examination at the doctors. Before going in, I had panicked myself into thinking it would be internal, and I was terrified. When I got there, the doctor assured me that it was only going to be an external exam, but at this point I was already so worked up and extremely anxious. When the doctor touched the external part with some paper, she didn’t warn me before hand and the pain was severe (because I was so tense), sending me into a deeper state of panic and tears.

    Since then, I have felt really traumatised and upset- my vagina now feels so alien again and I am back to square 1.
    I just wondered whether anyone else had been through any set backs like this and if so, how you got past it?


    Hi Lucy21
    I am so so sorry to hear about this. Just know that vaginismus is highly curable and that you are STRONGER than it! Vaginismus isn’t a straight line to recovery and it is very very normal to have set backs from time to time. What I think helps the most during these set backs is some time to recover and regroup. Give your body some rest from dilation and during this rest time, remind yourself that this is your body and your body is safe with you and you’ll treat your body with kindess and care. I would repeat these things to myself in a mirror. And it sounds weird but when you speak to yourself, you listen. I would also spend time getting familiar and comfortable with my vagina. You can lay in bed or do this in the tub, but what I would do is I’d just touch my vagina without going in, and tell myself that this is my body and that it’s safe and I’d very gently touch all around that entire area. You are still progressing even with set backs! Don’t forget that this all goes at your pace too, whatever you feel comfortable and safe doing and when you decide to do it, it’s all your decision. When you feel okay enough to begin your journey to recovery again, just take it slow 🙂 Use your finger and increase size when you feel okay to do so. In the future, I would inform doctors right from the beginning of your appointment that you have vaginismus and that you would feel safer if they told you what they were going to do before doing it, and if it is okay with you to do it. Vaginismus isn’t talked about enough, nor studied enough and there are some doctors who don’t believe it is true(they think it’s in our heads) or they don’t understand it enough. But either way, some doctors may not be as sensitive to your needs unless you tell them from the start that you require extra care down there! 🙂 Again I am so sorry that you experienced that. But I am SO PROUD of you for beginning this journey and for seeing a sex therapist! You are so so brave for taking those steps and it’s that bravery that will carry you all the way to recovery! You can do this!! Listen to your body, it is OKAY to take little breaks, and remind yourself how strong you are and also that youe vagina is a beautiful part of your body that isn’t alien, it just needs a little tlc 🙂 Keep us updated! We are here for you.


    Hi lucy21 – I’m so sorry to hear about the experience you had at the doctor! Doctors’ appointments involving gynecological exams, even external ones, can be one of the hardest things to handle for someone with vaginismus since it’s such a sterile, unrelaxing environment – you should NOT feel bad that this was hard for you!

    I completely agree with what Heather said in that sometimes you just need a bit of time to recover before starting up again, and at that time it’s best to move super slowly. Focus on just relaxing, slowly touching yourself, and regaining the ground you had before. One advantage I think you have is that you were able to make progress like inserting a finger before – and if you did it before, you know you can do it again! Having that knowledge has been a big source of confidence for me, and I think it could get you back on track again too.

    How is it going? Have you recovered from this experience? Let us know if you have any other dilation questions!

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