Vaginismus and Health

Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.

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    Hi ladies. In the recent article on Dr. Oz’s website, Dr. Pacik noted:

    “What worries physicians is that there are health consequences to vaginismus since sufferers tend to put off checkups with their gynecologist. “Many women make appointments and find an excuse to cancel,” he says. “This happens year after year so they may go 15 to 20 years without having a Pap smear or pelvic exam.”

    The bottom line: If you think you have vaginismus, it’s important to find an experienced physician (or therapist) who won’t tell you to “just relax.””

    This is one section of the article that really resonated with me personally. Prior to having Dr. Pacik’s procedure at age 34, I was never able to have a Pap smear or pelvic exam. I tried so hard to “will” myself to go through with one but it just didn’t happen and resulted in humiliation. Specifically, I found a gynecologist, made an appointment, and dreaded the appointment for weeks prior. On the day of the appointment, I had the physical manifestations of an anxiety attack even while sitting in the parking lot waiting to go into the office and it only got worse after I forced myself to go in. The actual exam then was impossible for the physician to complete as I was practically jumping off the table and had an intense fear/pain response even with any touch on the outside area of my vagina. The doctor was angry and frustrated. She tried telling me to just relax and then stopped attempting the exam and said she would never see me again until I visited a sex therapist first. I attempted to show her a print out about vaginismus and said I believed I had the symptoms and she would not read it and said I had vulvodynia. As written above, I left the exam humiliated and in tears (once I returned to my car). In 2011, the health consequences of vaginismus became even more severe when a CT scan showed that I had ovarian cysts. The doctor insisted that I have an internal ultrasound and, because of my vaginismus, I was unable to entirely. The doctors again made me feel ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t just have this simple thing (in their opinion) and I had to undergo an abdominal MRI in order for them to examine the size of the cysts. Thereafter, I had laparoscopic surgery and post-surgery, again, the Physicians both wanted to and needed to be able to complete internal tests and I was unable to tolerate any of them. When I discovered Dr. Pacik in 2011, I was in need of curing my vaginismus not only because I so desperately desired to be able to make love to my husband, but most importantly because it had become a serious health concern as I was unable to have a Pap smear, pelvic exam, or any internal tests. I had no idea what to expect and how I would be able to tolerate the procedure and dilating as I had such a bad past experience. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I finally found a doctor who understood that a cure to vaginismus wasn’t just saying “try to relax” but actually treating both the physical as well as emotional components of the condition. Since having the procedure, I have been able to have 100% pain-free Pap smears, pelvic exams, internal tests, and even the insertion of a foley/catheter while hospitalized for neuro-surgery. None of this would have been possible prior to receiving this treatment and I often think of this and thank God that such a treatment is offered and works to cure this condition.

    What have been your own experiences concerning health and vaginismus?

    To Nakitalab, in the past, I know you wrote of using an inflatable device as a speculum while you suffered with vaginismus. Would you recommend this to others out there who are still suffering with vaginismus but very much want to have an ob/gyn exam?

    I welcome your comments and feedback here ladies.


    I would highly recommend the inflatable speculum. I used it for about five years until I had my procedure last October. My nurse practioner has gone through this journey with me for over 13 years and I am very lucky to have found her as all the other doctors in the past didn’t understand or seem to really want to understand what I was going through. For me control is a big issue and so I would insert the inflatable dilator (that looks like a tampon) myself and then she would slowly pump air into it to inflate it. However, I did have to take lorazapam before the appointment as well as use lidocaine prior and during the exam. It was an extremely emotional time for me, starting from when I actually made the appointment all the way through the appointment. It always ended in lots of tears. But this device allowed me to have a pap smear. I’m so thrilled to say that just a few months ago I was able to have an exam with a regular sized speculum. Tears of joy this time! I still can’t believe it. Dr. Pacik’s treatment has truly been a blessing in so many ways!

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