My name is Emily, I am 43 years old and I have had vaginismus since I was 19. I have experienced 24 years of pain, guilt, embarrassment and sadness due to vaginismus. My story is as follows…I became sexually active at age 17 without any pain or problems. Vaginismus settled in 6 months after I began dating my current husband. We started our relationship with a pain free sex life, but an emotional reaction on my end to an extended separation lead to the onset of vaginismus. It felt like I just woke up one day and intercourse became unbearably painful. I experienced a burning, searing, intense pain that took my breath away and made me terribly fearful of intimacy. Intercourse became a dreaded experience that became less and less frequent.
Thankfully for me, this wonderful man I was dating (now my husband) was so understanding, patient and loving. I have a very close relationship with my sisters and my parents as well and over the years, everyone has helped me research vaginismus, identify treatments that may help and have been incredibly supportive. I have been able to use tampons all along with just a little discomfort. Gyn exams were possible, but I broke out in a cold sweat and had to do deep breathing due to the pain of being examined. I feel like I have tried everything out there as far as treatments go.
Multiple treatments for vaginismus
I have seen numerous Gyn doctors & specialists, psychiatrists and psychologists over the years. I have tried bio-feedback, hypnosis, acupuncture, numbing products, vestibular surgery, Botox that was injected into the wrong areas and dilation using the wrong type of dilators (the dilators I was given in the past were not graduated in size and were made of rigid materials). I was only able to tolerate intercourse if I completely numbed the internal vaginal muscles with Lidocaine. Numbing creams and liquids had side effects and problems. I also became allergic to many lubricants and have spent lots of time and money looking for a product that I can tolerate. (I have found “Yes” lubricant online. It is made in England and comes as a water based or an oil based lubricant). Another dilator option I tried was a product called “Epi-No.” I bought it online from Australia. It is a product that is meant to stretch the vaginal skin before childbirth so an episiotomy is not needed. The product is a rubber bulb you insert into the vagina and then pump up like a blood pressure cuff to the width you need. This product did not work for me because it either was not stretching the muscles enough, or it got too tight and sore too fast.
The myth of pregnancy
Many doctors told me that the pain I was experiencing would go away after I had a child. I gave birth to our son (a vaginal delivery) when I was 30 years old. He was an 8-pound baby…so plenty of stretching happened. Sadly, the pain was still there after I recovered from the delivery.
Treatment of vaginismus
As the years went by and the pain was still as intense, I became more and more discouraged that I would never be able to have pain free intercourse again. Thankfully, I have not given up and that thin thread of determination lead me to Dr. Pacik. I knew from the moment I saw his website and started reading all the posted information that I had finally found the right person to help me. Dr. Pacik’s knowledge of vaginismus and all the emotional baggage that accompanies it is truly amazing. I was so impressed by his level of personal communication as soon as I contacted his office. Through phone calls, Skype conversations and emails, we agreed upon a course of treatment. I was not able to fly to N.H. to have the Botox treatment, so we committed to a long distance treatment relationship that focused on dilation only. I knew in my heart that I would have success with the dilators and Dr. Pacik believed in me 100%. While I was waiting to receive the “Pure Romance” dilators he recommended, Dr. Pacik suggested I read his book and other publications on vaginismus, which were extremely informative and liberating.
Knowledge is power!
Knowledge is power! Once I received the dilators, Dr. Pacik instructed me on how to begin and asked me to email him daily about my progress. I started out with dilating in the morning and evening using the smaller dilators. I slept with a dilator inserted every other night. Dr. Pacik was very supportive and helped me not get discouraged when I would feel any burning sensations after dilations. I am 8 months into my dilation treatment with Dr. Pacik and I have progressed up to using the largest 2 dilators without pain.
With proper dilation beforehand, I have even achieved pain free intercourse a few times! I know daily dilation will be in my future for a while since like all muscles, the vaginal wall muscles need to be stretched so they can stay flexible. I truly cannot express my gratitude to Dr. Pacik and all the wonderful people who work with him. I whole-heartedly recommend working with Dr. Pacik in whatever capacity can be arranged.
Dr. Pacik commentary
It has been a total joy working with Emily. She was motivated and knew she would be successful. As a patient with secondary vaginismus, she has more of a chance of regression (than a patient with primary vaginismus) and therefore understands the need for long term dilation. This simply means that if she has discomfort, she will need to resume using her dilators, and better yet, is to use her dilators periodically so that she does not regress.
Part of the lack of understanding of vaginismus by health care professionals is the myth of pregnancy. Patients do not get better, or overcome their vaginismus, just because they have a vaginal delivery. Many of my patients who did become pregnant, insisted on C-section, and never delivered vaginally anyway. This is a myth that needs proper burial.
Emily has become an advocate for other women with vaginismus and has helped support and counsel them. My heartfelt thanks to Emily for all she has done.
If you have any questions about our Botox treatment for vaginismus and progressive dilation under anesthesia, please contact us via our contact us form.