Vaginismus: A Call to Action
for the New Year 2014
With this issue of our first newsletter, I hope to reach as many of you as possible to make vaginismus more mainstream. Women who struggle with vaginismus, especially the more severe cases, think they are the only ones suffering with this affliction. This could not be further from the truth. It is estimated that 1-7% of the world population suffers from vaginismus. It is likely this figure is higher because women with sexual pain do not discuss this even with their doctors and have difficulty getting a diagnosis from their doctors. Worse, they are given a misdiagnosis of vulvodynia (pain in some part of the vulva) or vestibulodynia (pain in the vestibule just outside the entrance to the vagina, but inside the labia) and treated unsuccessfully with years of creams and ointments that do nothing to cure the agony of attempted intercourse. It is for these reasons that if you have vaginismus, 2014 is the year to address the issue by requesting our newly revised forms. I read every questionnaire, will do a complimentary evaluation and will attempt to reach out by arranging a complimentary phone call.
The Psychological Fallout from Vaginismus
The psychological fallout from vaginismus is intense and can destroy a woman and her partner. Severe pain with repeated attempts at intercourse results in high levels of fear and anxiety, diminished libido (for both partners), erectile dysfunction for the male partner, inability to tolerate penetration including GYN exams, relationship issues, self-image problems, feeling like freaks, disgust and suicidal ideation to name just a few of the unwanted manifestations of vaginismus. Couple this with condescending remarks from your doctor (“Don’t be a baby”, “Can’t you just relax”, “It’s all in your head”) and you get a firestorm of downhill spiraling that gets out of control leaving the woman crying and devastated.
Often the way we overcome adversity is though education. Knowing and understanding are essential to overcoming issues that are confusing. As part of a call to action, it is important to read the website which contains an abundance of educational information. 1. Read the Stories section to understand what your sisters have experienced. 2. Read and participate on the Forum where you will receive education, helpful hints and most importantly, have the support of this large community. No question is a dumb one and every concern deserves an answer. 3. Read the Blog. Each blog post addresses a different issue. 4. Read my book “When Sex Seems Impossible. Stories of Vaginismus & How You Can Achieve Intimacy”. This book was written with the hopes of helping to remove the shackles of isolation that so many women feel. It goes into depth about all aspects of vaginismus. The book takes you from the beginning of being aware of vaginismus through the end after women have been treated using the Botox treatment program.
The call to action includes contacting our third party billing person to get some idea of insurance coverage. Diane Tremblay has been an amazing advocate for my patients, not resting until she has done everything possible to get payments. She has had amazing success overcoming the attitude that the treatment program is still “investigational”. Care Credit is another approach to affording the treatment. There is no cost to the patient to initiate this and no interest charges if the loan is paid within one year. Visit our Financing page for more information. Asking for help is often essential. Parents have proven themselves to be very understanding and will often help in any way they can. A number of Moms weighed in on this Topic on the Forum, which is definitely worth reading.
Let the year 2014 be your call to action. It is time to understand that vaginismus is not something that is willed. It is a condition (not a disease) that is uncontrolled and involuntary. Most women have a desire to be intimate with their partners yet are unable to consummate their relationships because of severe repetitive pain on attempting penetration. Take the initiative to get started, complete the questionnaires, speak to Dr. Pacik personally and contact Diane for insurance help.
Make 2014 the year to overcome vaginismus!
Peter T. Pacik, MD FACS