1-7% of women around the world suffer from a painful disorder known as vaginismus, but odds are that you've never heard of it.
The reasons for this are complicated, and we'll get into that later. Let's start by understanding what the disorder is.
Women suffering from vaginismus experience painful muscle spasms in their vagina whenever they try inserting something, whether that be a tampon or a penis. It happens involuntarily, the way your eye clenches shut if someone tries to poke it.
If you've ever experienced a muscle spasm, you know how painful it can be. Think charley horse, but in your vagina.
As you can imagine, this makes sex an incredibly painful and anxiety provoking experience.
If you're one of the women suffering from this debilitating condition, you are not alone.
There are specialists out there who have had great success in treating the disorder.
Read on to find out how to treat vaginismus, so you can start living the life you deserve.
WHAT CAUSES VAGINISMUS?
Doctors are not entirely sure what causes vaginismus.
Doctor Jaime Schwartz in Beverly Hills, California has found that for some women, it might be a result of trauma, like sexual abuse. From trauma, the brain can develop such an intense anxiety regarding sex that it's their body's way of protecting itself.
Other sufferers of vaginismus report being raised with an extremely strict or religious upbringing, where sex was considered taboo. Again, they have a lot of anxiety related to sex.
Amy Forrest is a woman who dealt with the pain of vaginismus her entire life and didn't know why. She had a normal and healthy childhood, yet even so much as trying to put in a tampon caused her to have these painful spasms. Amy felt like she was broken, and that she would never be able to have a healthy relationship.
AN ANXIOUS SPIRAL
It's clear that anxiety and vaginismus go hand in hand.
When a woman experiences these spasms during sex, it causes her to create a negative association with intercourse and intimacy. It becomes a huge source of shame and confusion.
The next time she is engaging in sexual activity, her mind is going to be racing, remembering the pain from her last experience. Obviously, this will not help the body relax, and her spasms will continue.
The reason the statistics about how many women suffer from this disorder are so vague is that many women simply do not report it because they are ashamed and embarrassed. They feel like something is wrong with them, and they don't know how to talk to people about it.
Luckily, women are starting to speak up about their vaginismus, and there is a great deal of awareness being brought to the issue.
Doctor Jaimie Schwartz understands the mental and physical burden women experience with vaginismus and treats each case with dignity and care.
POOR TREATMENTS OF THE PAST
This disorder has been affecting women for decades, and maybe even longer.
Imagine a housewife from the 1950's who is suffering from vaginismus having a conversation with her doctor about it. They were not very understanding.
Women were regularly told to just have a drink and relax. They were thought of as "frigid." Like it was a conscious choice they were making to punish their husbands.
Doctors could not comprehend the level of pain these women were experiencing.
Thankfully, times have changed since then, and there are a number of different treatment options available for vaginismus.
HOW TO TREAT VAGINISMUS TODAY
There are a variety of treatment options available for women today. Some of these include:
- Systematic desensitization, which is a psychological practice of gradually exposing yourself to something you have a phobia of. For example, for people with agoraphobia (a fear of crowds) a therapist might first encourage you to go to a place where there might be one or two other people. Then little by little you would try to increase the size of the crowd. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of evidence that shows that this treatment actually works for vaginismus.
- Vaginal dilators are often used as a treatment for the disorder. This is a process where women practice stretching their vaginal muscles with a series of dilators that increase in size as they go. Again, there is not a great deal of research that shows this treatment to be effective.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is where you work one-on-one with a therapist to help change the way you think about sex.
- Antidepressants have been shown to have a positive impact on treating the disorder or at least helping the patient to manage their anxiety.
- Botox Therapy is where a doctor injects Botulinum toxin A (Botox), a neurotoxic protein, into the muscles of the vagina. This causes the muscles to relax, which results in pain-free intercourse. This allows the patient to create a new pattern of thinking, and let go of the anxiety they had related to sex.
USING BOTOX TO BREAK THE CYCLE
Jaime Schwartz has successfully treated vaginismus patients, often with just one treatment of Botox. Of all of the treatment options for vaginismus, Botox therapy is the only one to have been proven effective in clinical trials.
In a study of 30 women who received Botox to treat their vaginismus, 29 of them reported being able to have pain-free intercourse one year after receiving the injection.
This is a treatment that is truly changing people's lives.
Amy Forrest was one of these women, and now that she knows how to treat vaginismus, she reports feeling like a completely different person, like she took back control of her body.
Since receiving Botox injections to treat her vaginismus, Amy is able to live a normal and fulfilling life, to enjoy sex and intimacy. For the first time, she can have a healthy romantic relationship, all thanks to a simple Botox injection.
If you are one of the thousands of women who are suffering from this debilitating disorder, it is time to consider what steps you're going to take to break the cycle and live the life that you deserve.
There is hope, and we want to help you experience a pain-free life.
Contact Doctor Jaime Schwartz’s office for any questions you might have about vaginismus, or to discuss whether Botox treatment is a good option for you.