I was recently diagnosed with Vaginismus, which is defined as involuntary
spasm/contraction/reflex of the muscles surrounding the entrance to the
vagina, making penetration impossible and/or painful. So in other words it means inserting tampons is painful and unfortunately so is sex. The sensation is like carpet burn and the severity can differ depending on a variety of things.
For years I thought I just wasn’t relaxed enough. Even doctors told me to just drink a glass of wine before sex. However, I had an instinct that something wasn’t right. I actually stumbled on an article about Vaginismus which led to my diagnoses. Although I wish I was diagnosed earlier, I am relieved that I can start treatment and that I wasn’t being over dramatic all those times.
The treatment for Vaginismus is pelvic floor therapy (I didn’t know it even existed!). I am in my early days of treatment so at the moment it consists of breathing exercises but will move up to using dilators.
I was wondering if anyone has this or even heard of this?
@Nurse_Nettie have you heard of this? Do you know if the treatment is successful?
It is actually not uncommon. And since being diagnosed I have come across a fair few friends who have it too!
Happy to answer any questions people are curious about.
@TinyTeddy Yes, vaginismus is not uncommon, but unfortunately a lot goes undiagnosed & untreated.The good news is physio therapy & vaginal dilators can be really effective 🙂 It’s not an instant fix though. It takes time & practice. For some people, the condition can be triggered by trauma or anxiety & in those cases counselling is another important strategy.
It’s important to note that pain with sex is not “normal.” Women are conditioned to downplay discomfort when it comes to sex. Many get the message that sex is always pleasurable for men, but there’s not the same expectation for women. Health care providers can have these biases as well & may underestimate the severity of the issue. It’s great that you kept advocating for yourself & eventually found the answer!
Thanks @Nurse_Nettie! You are on the money regarding how women are conditioned to downplay discomfort when it comes to sex. I am surprised that despite their good intentions, friends, partners and professionals did not seriously consider my ‘invisible’ symptoms as a medical condition and dismissed it as a phase.
It is comforting to know that the treatment can be really effective and that I have a good chance of pain free sex in the future. It does make me wonder though, that even in a major city and having access to numerous medical resources, women’s sexual health issues still sit in the shadows.
Such an important topic! Thank you @TinyTeddy for posting it and for sharing your personal story.
We seem to always hear about sex being pleasurable for men but rarely question when it’s not good for women. It’s almost as if that’s the norm – that women don’t enjoy sex as much as men and that’s it doesn’t feel as good for them. And when sex is painful for women, health professionals don’t take it as seriously.
And as you point out @TinyTeddy, vaginismus is more common than we realise! I’ve come across literature on vaginismus and there is evidence to support the effectiveness of treatment for it. Good on you for seeing someone about it! Wishing you all the best!
It is unfortunate that media perpetuates this idea that sexual pleasure is guaranteed for men, but a bonus for women! A positive outcome of dealing with vaginismus is that you are forced to learn a great deal about and build your sexual confidence.
@veryelle I am curious about the literature you have come across. Do you mind sharing it?
So I ended up creating a podcast episode about my experience with vaginismus. It was daunting sharing such a personal part of my life, however it was worth it just from meeting and interviewing other women who are part of this club no one wants to be in. Hope I did vaginismus girls proud! Love to hear your thoughts.
My story starts at 5:28 x
Just had a listen! I learnt heaps from that, thanks for sharing your story 🙂 I can imagine so many people being able to relate and it would be so hard when medical professionals are so wrong sometimes. Loved the podcast! Keep us informed if you do more 😀
Thanks @HoneyPot! Means a lot. 🙂 Hopefully the medical industry is learning more about women’s health too!