Lamont Level 2 – 8 years – relationship went from being extremely fulfilling when dating to their inability to make love and express themselves once they were married.
I don’t think I reviewed a vaginismus questionnaire that didn’t in some way indicate the struggles that women experience in their relationships. Sexual pain and the inability to have intercourse are serious problems. Some are on the verge of a divorce. Women feel imprisoned by their inability to function as a normal woman, with no way out, until they learn treatment is available.
The stories are so important. They allow others to understand their own feelings through someone else’s sharing. The stories give definition to what we are feeling. The stories remove us from the isolation that is so frequent in women with vaginismus. The stories also point out that though intercourse is expected after treatment of vaginismus with the Botox program, there is still work that needs to be done to repair relationship issues. Two or three days in the clinic can make a world of difference, but ongoing counseling is important for those whose ghosts follow them. Ashley was kind enough to share her story.
When I asked permission to post Ashley’s story, she wrote:
“I know the stories of the other women from your book, “When Sex Seems Impossible…”, really made such a difference for me in that it made me realize that I’m not alone in this. So if my story could provide others with that same comfort, then it’s not a difficult decision at all for me.”
Part 1 Brief history:
8 year history of vaginismus
This treated patient is a 26 year old nurse with an 8 year history of Lamont level 2 primary vaginismus discovered at age 18. She was able to tolerate some penetration but always had severe pain with intercourse. When she did attempt intercourse she describes:
“Tearing/sharp pain, scratching, feels like its hitting a wall unless I’m able to try and relax. If I’m able to relax enough for penetration, sex is still painful. Sometimes after sex I have a scant amount of bleeding. It will sometimes hurt to urinate as well (rare).” She continues ” Was not able to consummate the marriage until after the honeymoon (about 2 weeks later). When we finally did, it was awful (very very painful).”
Ashley was determined to overcome her vaginismus and during these eight long years she tried doing Kegels and using lubricants to no avail. During this time she worked with dilators and topical anesthetics for six months, but was unable to make any progress. Because of her high anxiety about not being able to be comfortable with intercourse she was given a trial of Prozac. (Many of my patients report being given a prescription for anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety medication. These are largely a waste of time and only “screws up” the mind.) Her libido continued to deteriorate.
Determination to have a child
In an effort to conceive, she toughed it out with intercourse:
“This requires complete concentration/relaxation. Sometimes I’m unable to relax enough for full penetration and we have to stop all together. When I’m able to have full penetration it is really painful. I continue to feel the burning around the outer portion of the vagina, and on the inside it is very tight, it feels an extreme aching pain. It also feels scratchy—like sandpaper. Last year when we were trying to get pregnant we were having sex a lot (for us)—2-4 times per week. It was still painful, but moderately so (5/10). I believe this was because of the frequency we were having sex at that time. Although, I was having less pain for that time, it was still painful. I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have pain when I have sex with my husband.”
She was successful and did conceive. Because of fetal distress she needed a C-section. She had a healthy baby. (C-sections are common in my population of vaginismus patients, perhaps because the vaginal spasm does not relax enough to allow the baby to pass through.)
Ashley’s story continues with Relationship Issues and Falling Off the Wagon