Internet Counseling for Vaginismus
As told by a patient from Sweden
“Born Without a Hole”
I first realized when I tried to have sex with DH (Dear Husband), who was my boyfriend back then at age 23 (2003). We were on this romantic trip together, in my mind I was sure I wanted to be with him and have my first time with him. So we got started, but he couldn’t get anywhere. Subconsciously, I was using my legs as a barrier to him coming close. When he pointed it out, I was actually shocked at my reaction. So I forced my legs down, but still, no luck. It felt like he was trying to cut me with a knife! Not as dramatic, but it was a sharp pain.
I looked at him again not understanding why this was happening. I see him get frustrated by this situation and almost blaming me with his eyes. So I felt around where the entrance should be and felt no hole! What if I had been born without a hole? I was more worried about this than his disappointment in me. I told him – you can be upset all you want, but I’m the one without a hole!
He of course calmed down and we had a talk about what exactly upset him. He thought that in my mind I knew I didn’t want to have premarital sex, but I just pretended that I did to please him. He thought I wasn’t being honest with him. When I explained that I really was being honest and I really did want to be with him whether or not it led to marriage, he took my word for it. Then over time he thought that maybe my body was trying to send me a message that I actually didn’t want to be with him, but I just didn’t realize it yet. Once again I assured him that he was exactly who I wanted, but there must be something wrong.
The Dreaded GYN exam-Canada
After that, I went to my first gynecological exam. It didn’t go well. Before I knew what I was doing, I found myself almost crunched into a fetal position and shaking. The doctor looked at me slightly shocked because she wasn’t trying to do anything that was so scary! In a disappointed tone she told me to come back another day for an exam and that maybe I was having a bad day. I didn’t go back to her, but went to a clinic closer to where I live. Again, same reaction. The doctor said she suspected I have vaginismus and that I should look more into it. It took about a year for me to be diagnosed and it was true. I was then referred to a very kind and lovely gynocologist in Canada who recommended I see a physiotherapist. I finally got to see her. This whole process of trying to get appointments and find the right person took a few years. So I didn’t get my first treatment with the physiotherapist until late 2006/early 2007 or so. She was wonderful and very understanding. But as a student, I couldn’t see her too often and insurance didn’t cover such visits. But when I did see her, I learned a lot about how the muscles could be trained. So I stayed doing kegel exercises for a year. During this year, I joined the vaginismus forum on yahoo. I then realized there was a world out there full of women with exactly the same problem! Some even had it worse than I did. It was such a supportive environment!
Through them, I got to know about using dilators to help overcome vaginismus, so I ordered them. I felt really good just taking that step! It felt like I was inching closer to becoming ‘normal’. I started with a finger, but then regressed. So I went back to using a qtip for a long time before daring to use the dilators. Then I could get to the first one only for a few years until I had my first hymenectomy. Then I got stuck at number 2 for a few years until I met Dr Pacik.
Of course, hearing stories from friends and from TV about how everyone has such an active sex life and finds it all so amusing made me feel terrible. Even watching nature documentaries made me angry. Having sex is something some animals even live for! But I knew I had to get there one day. Plus I used it as a way to overcome the psychological barrier I had in my mind.
During this whole process, DH and I went through our ups and downs. Being in a long distance relationship already put a strain on us, but then trying to be intimate when we did see each other was always a challenge. We could always be intimate, but every time we attempted sex, we were both disappointed. I was always really afraid that he would get tired of waiting for a solution and leave me. It was such an intense fear and made me feel so frustrated with myself. I even thought that maybe I shouldn’t be so selfish and be ok with him being intimate with other people while we are together. But the thought of it made me really sad. As time went on, we both learned more about it. I shared with him all the information I had on it.. and after a long time, he also did some research of his own. But I never felt that he shared this problem with me. Instead, he left it up to me to resolve. This made me resentful at times and angry and alone. But I was always honest with him about how I felt and what I wanted to see from him. But I also felt a lot of guilt. Here was a man who I loved more than anything, and I can’t give him the one thing I am built to give. It made me question my ‘usefulness’ as a woman and it made me feel extremely guilty for not giving him everything I wish I could give him. I still feel guilty now, but I understand the whole situation a lot better. All because we talk about it so much and in a very honest way. Sometimes I have to hear things I don’t want to hear. But if I ask questions about it, I understand it a little better and realize it is not what I feared, but is something I can actually understand! A lot of the issues came down to misunderstanding what the other person meant!
Miraculously, after 5 years of being together, DH proposed! He wanted to marry me despite me having vaginismus! We have been married for 3 years now. Now, becoming intimate and wanting to feel desired is a sort of taboo discussion. He doesn’t want me to talk about it because it frustrates him. But when we don’t talk about it, we can never get any where. I am frustrated and just want this to be over! I still am afraid sometimes that he will leave me. But lately when we talk about it, he says that what we have is deeper than that and that perhaps the lack of sex made us focus on other parts of our relationship and strengthened it. In the meantime, I go through many periods of feeling completely unattractive. If my own husband doesn’t desire me, what does this mean for me? He says he is very attracted, but is more frustrated because he knows the desire won’t lead us anywhere. Over the years, I teetered between thinking – we are perfectly fine without sex and between – what if by not having sex, we are inadvertently killing our beautiful relationship and by the time we fix it, it will be too late? I am still dealing with that question.. but maybe progress with dilation will let us overcome this whole issue.
Move to Europe and more failures
When we got married, we moved to Europe. The healthcare offered here works completely differently. Specifically where we live, there are no real specialists for vaginismus, or even related issues. Many claimed to be experts and gave me so many promises. I went through some very horrible experiences with some and I went from person to person for the past 3 years until I finally found Dr Pacik! I went to see a specialist where my parents live and she asked me to insert a huge dilator. I told her that is the problem! If I could insert that dilator, I wouldn’t be in here right now. She said if I wouldn’t do it, she would! So I started crying and she started to shout at me saying that she doesn’t feel sorry for me, instead she feels sorry for my husband who has to put up with me and not having sex. I never went to see her again. Another ‘specialist’ stuck her finger in me during an examination which caused me to jump in fear and cry and she gave me this terrible look like I was crazy and turned to her colleague and said ‘you see? This is what we have to deal with..’ Another said that it was because I had middle eastern roots, regardless of the fact that I am Canadian! Another specialist said that I needed anti anxiety medication so that my seratonin connection in the brain could be fixed and my brain would send the right signal to my vagina when trying to have intercourse. He thought I would be fine within a month. I started the medication and got the strangest side effect.. I would wake up with my eyes open very wide – like I was constantly shocked and my pupils were very dilated. It was apparently called overstimulation of the sympathetic system. The doctor didn’t even acknowledge that this was happening and said it must be something else. So I discontinued the medication and of course the problem went away. Then, I thought maybe I should go for alternative therapy since my experience with doctors didn’t go well. So I tried acupuncture with a woman who kept hitting my nerve which caused immense pain and for my hands to contract uncontrollably claiming that it was working. Then she recommended I join a program that would ease my tension. It was a few days in a beautiful cottage where we could ‘purify ourselves and reenergise’. It sounded very fishy and not something I was interested in. Plus, it cost a lot. She made me feel guilty for ‘not caring enough about this problem to seek help for it’! At that point I knew she wasn’t someone I wanted to see again. .. I have seen a lot from different doctors and ‘specialists’, but I don’t want to give up. I’ve heard so much about Dr Pacik’s treatment and every single person who has tried it has said that it saved their life and their marriage.
But in between, I did get to see a couple of doctors who were great and did want to help. Both doctors performed hymenectomies on me (one year apart). It did help me advance to the second dilator but then I got ‘stuck’ there.
Internet counseling for vaginismus
Since meeting Dr Pacik, I feel like a new person! He really listened to me and got the full picture of how I got to this point, so his action plan will very likely work! To accommodate me, he suggested a treatment over the internet where he gives me a plan to work on with dilators, without using botox. After asking me many questions and getting a full picture of my condition, he determined that I have a spastic muscle right at the entrance. Since I started the treatment (almost two months ago), I feel stronger and more daring. I feel like I can beat this! I can even get dilators in more easily and from multiple positions. Before, I could only lie in bed and have my legs be in a certain way. Before this treatment, I had good and bad days, but now I can be in different positions and it always goes in!.. I can even walk around with the dilators! It’s not the smoothest way to walk, but it can be done! I can even insert all but the biggest one like a tampon! I never thought that was possible! Only 9 days into my treatment, I not only could insert the purple dilator like a tampon, but an hour later, the pink one actually slid in!!! No pain or anything! That moment changed everything! I am so excited because now I am certain that vaginismus is going to be part of my PAST ☺. Only 14 days into the treatment, my DH was able to get in! That was a shock to us both! It was so smooth, that neither of us was really sure until he pulled back a little and we could see that his entire penis was actually inside! AMAZING! We are looking ahead now and know that we can get to the point of making love without pain or discomfort!
It is so important to find a doctor who truly listens and knows what he is talking about! I’m really happy to have met Dr Pacik! I think it will change my life! It is also important not to give up. Even if you go to 20 unqualified people who frustrate you, the point is that we CAN do this. We just have to find someone, like Dr Pacik to help us get there! It’s also important to know that it might take many failed attempts before getting it right, but when you get it right, nothing can stop you!
Things that helped me:
- thought that women are built to have sex, so there is nothing to be afraid of
- realized that vaginismus doesn’t define me or doesn’t have to limit me. There is a solution to it and I can do it, as can anyone else.
- Don’t think that TV shows represent reality.
- The fact that it is tough to overcome doesn’t mean I should just give up
- Dealing with a few doctors that are not informed about vaginismus doesn’t mean there is no one out there who can help you. You just have to work harder to find that person
- Listen to your gut. If what the doctor tells you doesn’t feel right, there probably is a reason for it.
- Keep your mind focused on the fact that you WILL overcome it. It gives you confidence to go through with a treatment plan.
- Start with baby steps and celebrate every bit of progress
- Visualize the dilator in you so that it becomes natural in your mind that you will be inserting it. It might take a while to get used to the idea, but it helped me to think ‘of course that will go in’
- If you have a partner, talk very honestly with them about how you feel and what you are going through. I noticed that my husband doesn’t respond when I speak too emotionally. So I needed to find examples he could relate to and give more facts about the situation. When they understand it, they will more likely be more supportive of you.
- Speak to Dr Pacik
Note from Dr. Pacik:
This patient was able to use the large dilators by eight days, achieved intercourse by twelve days, and delivered a cute baby girl one year later. She has become an amazing advocate helping other women with vaginismus. There was some panic about the delivery process which simply required reassurance. The continuation of her story follows:
Update from our patient from Sweden:
Since the chat with Dr. Pacik, I felt much more empowered. Like I could do and achieve so much more than I gave myself credit for. About a year ago, my husband and I discussed things and thought it was time to start a family. We worked in parallel, both with trying intercourse and trying the syringe method. After about 4 months of trying (mostly syringe), we succeeded! We couldn’t believe it at first, but we DID! It was one more sign that my body was actually ‘normal’!! We couldn’t believe our luck and so had to take the pregnancy test a couple of times just to be sure :)
Early in the pregnancy, I already had a large belly. My midwife thought I might be having twins, or more likely, that I have a large fibroid. After an ultrasound, it was confirmed that I had two very large fibroids. They told us we were very lucky that we got pregnant at all! The fibroids never interfered with our darling little daughter’s development… and now.. she is HERE! She lights up our world completely!
Before her birth, I got extremely nervous and anxious about how the birth would take place, but then I spoke to Dr Pacik who reminded me that I was over thinking every step. The fact is, millions of women over thousands of years have gone through this process and came out just fine. It is a very natural process, and if they can do it, so can we! I also thought that I’m actually in a great situation . . . I don’t live in the middle of a war, or in a remote village, or have any major worries. I am in good, capable hands and I have to allow this to happen. When the first contraction came, I was half panicked, half calm . . . I kept repeating those comforting thoughts to myself and the idea that giving birth is such a natural process, that we can’t stop it from happening. It is only a short moment in life, then your beautiful baby is in your arms! About two and a half days of labor, they decided on an emergency c-section because our baby needed it. In the end, it all worked out very well. She is here and perfectly healthy!
I hope this helps inspire you – that no matter how many hurdles, bumps and stops, you CAN get through this and you will!
I still have things to work on, but I feel much more empowered and capable of facing them now! I just need the wise words of Dr Pacik to help guide me!
If you have any questions about our Botox treatment for vaginismus and progressive dilation under anesthesia, please contact us via our contact us form.