Staying Postive with Vaginismus
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May 31, 2016 at 6:38 pm #19275Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWParticipant
So many women with vaginismus have struggled with years to get help that it can be difficult trying to stay positive and believe that it is possible to get rid of the pain. Here at MAZE we know that the physical pain is only one part of the issue. Feelings of shame and frustration experienced for years are not going to go away over night, just as the pain will not go away overnight. Staying positive and recognizing your feelings and emotions is very important to overcoming vaginismus. Many patients find it helpful to discuss these feelings with a therapist or someone they feel comfortable talking to about this issue. So please do reach out for help, and know that you are not alone.June 1, 2016 at 5:55 pm #19283Heather34Moderator
Hi Nicole. I absolutely loved this post and think it is beyond wonderful that Maze addresses both the physical as well as psychological aspects of vaginismus. In so many posts, women talk of failed treatment for vaginismus with solely “talk therapy” as well as failed treatments with solely addressing the physical aspects of the condition (i.e. PT, biofeedback).
In a prior post, the husband of one of Dr. Pacik’s treated patients who is a psychiatric nurse, discusses both the psychological and physical aspects of the condition and their post-procedure success:
“A very long story short: we went for treatment, and I saw everything. It is amazing how someone can display muscular spasms and attempt to avoid treatment even under anaesthetic. This underlines the “involuntary” nature of this debilitating condition. Rachel did not feel a thing; she was not aware of anything whatsoever. Yet, she was attempting to resist treatment during the procedure. This is not a problem that is attributable to mere psychological constructs or defense mechanisms. There are psychological components to vaginismus, most definitely. However, this is an essentially physiological condition which is reinforced by the following: lack of education, distorted perceptions and beliefs, rumination, catastrophising. The initial memory and pain of intercourse triggers and maintains these psychological constructs, which simply reinforce the problem. So there is a cognitive element to this condition. However, the root of the problem is not psychological. Rachel had the treatment. She dilated in no time at all. She had inserted the dilators without problem. I had even inserted the dilators without problem – into Rachel that is!!! Where was the impossibility now? Rachel thought that she was too small. Rachel thought that nothing could “get in there”. Now, she had the biggest dilator inside her. The problem is no longer a problem, and Rachel was walking around Portland like a duck with the evidence inside her vagina. So, when the psychological conflicts arose, there was no evidence to substantiate or validate their claims. Rachel and I knew it. We went home, back to Canada. We followed the golden rule of “tip only intercourse”. No problems. Why? The botox has temporarily paralysed Rachel’s vaginal muscles so that she cannot spasm. This has given Rachel time to get over the so-called physical impossibilities and her unsupported psychological constructs. Rachel now knows that she is not too small; she now knows that she does not need a hymenectomy; she now knows that she has a normal vagina; she now knows that she can insert a dilator that is the size of an erect penis. The “arguments” in her head have been levelled to the ground. We have now even had full intercourse.”July 20, 2016 at 4:59 pm #19539Heather34Moderator
I think staying positive with vaginismus is sometimes difficult and I struggled a lot with this. In a prior post, I wanted to share some tips. Specifically, Janet Pacik writes: “I have recently been reading a lot on positive thinking and meditation as we all have “stuff” we are dealing with in our personal lives. One of the things that might help is to spend 10 or 15 uninterrupted minutes a day doing nothing such as meditating or staring at some natural motion like flowing water. This daily period of mindful silence may provide a sanctuary for you that can be peaceful where you can then meditate on the positive side of dilating and transitioning to intercourse. It is my firm belief that you need to visualize success in order to overcome this. This mindful silence may give you that opportunity. Just a thought and may be worth trying. Sending positive energy your way.” I hope this helps and, again, want you all to know that I am here for you always!
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