We can all be advocates and ambassadors for vaginismus
I encourage each and every patient to reach out to other patients to help support them both before and after treatment of vaginismus. For every woman going through the process of treatment, there continues to be fear and sometimes overwhelming anxiety. “What if it doesn’t work” is a common refrain, or “What if I am the one person where the procedure fails”. By speaking to others, one derives a great deal of comfort as well as education. When we are confused, someone else’s thoughts or experiences help give definition to what we are feeling.
Beyond patient-to-patient contact, I encourage my patients to post on forums, to send me articles for posting on our VaginismusMD website and to contact magazines, TV shows and radio. Since vaginismus is largely unknown, the media carry very little information, and vaginismus is not yet mainstream. As long as this condition is unknown, women will continue to suffer in silence. As so often happens, once something becomes more well known, others are more comfortable in stepping forward. One of my patients told her story to Cosmopolitan. This was published in their November, 2011 issue under the title “I Botoxed my Vagina”. Though written in typical Cosmo style, it still imparts a message.
Heather, who is enormous advocate for other patients and is relentless in pursuing her goal of making vaginismus more well known, has been contacting radio and TV stations as well as magazines. Below is an except of an email to me regarding the work she is doing to spread the word about vaginismus and her cure with our Botox treatment and progressive dilation:
“Hi Dr. Pacik, . . . I continue to submit articles on vaginismus for publication in women’s magazines. If I can reach even one or two women out there who continue to struggle with vaginismus and show them that this is the cure that they have probably been praying for, then I will feel truly great about it. I honestly feel very passionate about this and love doing any type of work and advocacy that I believe will make a true difference. . . . Take care, Heather
Heather’s Story: Vaginismus Cured with New Treatment of Botox
Four months ago, I had pain free sex with my husband for the first time in our 5-year marriage. After years of being misdiagnosed, unsuccessfully treated, and told there was nothing wrong with me, I finally found a cure. Botox gave me my life back. I was one of hundreds of thousands of women suffering from vaginismus, painful spasms of the vagina due to involuntary muscular contractions which are severe enough to prevent intercourse.
Karen M. Donahey, Ph.D. indicates the following concerning the condition of vaginismus:
“Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening which occurs whenever an attempt is made to penetrate the vagina. For some women, any attempt to insert anything into the vagina is unsuccessful. For other women, certain types of penetration can occur without pain or discomfort, such as putting in a tampon or undergoing a pelvic examination, however, when intercourse is attempted, penetration is impossible. Many women who suffer from vaginismus believe this condition is unique to them. There is a tremendous amount of shame and embarrassment at not being able to do something that is perceived as being simple and natural. A large number of women who eventually seek help admit they have never confided in anyone for fear of being ridiculed and humiliated. In their relationships with their partners, women with vaginismus often experience feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Over time, if they continue to fail in their attempts to have intercourse, many couples eventually decide to stop trying. The inability to be successful and establish a full sexual relationship usually places significant strain on the relationship as a whole.”
It is important to know that there is help available for overcoming vaginismus. After years of searching for relief, I found Dr. Peter Pacik’s book “When Sex Seems Impossible: Stories of Vaginismus and How You Can Achieve Intimacy”. My husband and I read it and immediately knew that I had to contact this doctor and try this particular treatment. The stories were so real and so similar to what we had been experiencing for so many years of our marriage.
I had tried all types of therapy (i.e. physical therapy, biofeedback, etc.) and nothing worked for me due to my immense level of anxiety regarding any form of penetration. When we made the call to Dr. Pacik, he was immediately accepting, supportive, and unlike any doctor we had ever met before. He genuinely and fully cared about both of us. In June, I had the botox procedure under anesthesia. Following this, I was trained on how to use dilators (progressive dilation) and had the chance to practice using them with the amazing support of Dr. Pacik’s staff. Thereafter, we received sex therapy regarding the transition from dilators to intercourse and finding intimacy after vaginismus. Following the comprehensive treatment program in-house, I then received a tremendous amount of daily communication from Dr. Pacik and his staff once I returned home.
Thereafter, within 1 week of the procedure, my husband and I were able to make love for the first time in our 5-year marriage entirely pain free. Words alone cannot begin to describe how wonderful I feel because of this. It is truly indescribable! I believe that God provided us with this amazing Doctor and wonderful treatment that truly was the CURE that I had prayed for so many years for!!! 1-7% of woman worldwide suffer from this poorly known condition and no one talks about it. If you are silently suffering with the symptoms of vaginismus, as I did for so many years, it is important to know that you don’t have to anymore and you too can get help.