Having taken the trek from 'vaginismus' to 'btx' I'd like to talk about my journey and all the valleys and plains that came my way. Vaginismus - sounds intimidating and can very well be till you acknowledge it as a problem and decide to get treated but most of us here don't even know it exists. I was completely oblivious to the problem too.
One year into marriage and intercourse was way too painful. I kept telling myself that I probably needed to try harder or maybe we were doing something wrong. But the next attempt wasn't anything great either. I came to a point where I started believing that it was my fault and shortcoming that I could not take the pain and that all girls go through it and it was something very normal. Idle chit chat my girlfriends indulged in told me that it was normal to experience pain but it probably never lasted more than a few attempts. But two years into marriage and I hadn't graduated from my position.
I still felt a sharp burning pain that was impossible to bear. We also wanted to start planning our family at this time but we were quite clueless on how that would be possible given intercourse was a problem to the extent that it was impossible. I decided to get myself an appointment with Dr. Rajeev and meet him and discuss my problem but on my first appointment I couldn't bring myself to talk about it.
On my fourth appointment I opened up to him but I still couldn't talk about it. I was too ashamed and I still considered this to be just my problem - something I thought I hadn't tried enough to solve! I told him that we wanted to plan a family and I was wondering if I needed to get any tests done. As an answer to my question he listed down some tests and I decided to get them done. When it was time for the TVS (transvaginal scan) I failed. It was too much pain for me to handle and the nurse could not conduct the scan for me. Living in Mumbai, my next appointment was over Skype and I asked, "Doc, I couldn't manage the TVS- it was too much pain for me to handle but is this normal?" I'd like to add here that I don’t know if Dr Rajeev can read minds but his next question definitely made it so much simpler for me. He said, "I wouldn't say it's not normal... it could be a pain sometimes but if you're saying that intercourse is also a problem for you..then this is a problem!" After 4 appointments I could finally tell him almost instantly that yes it was a problem for me only because I realized that somewhere it was recognized medically otherwise he wouldn't have said what he just did.
Over the next few appointments he told me how to deal with the problem. He put me on a set of dilators and asked me to use them daily as they would help loosen the muscles. I tried for a few months but I couldn't cross no 1 as it was still a task for me. The pain would not allow me to put anything in. Then we spoke about BTX. Dr. Rajeev explained it's side effects to me and how a BTX injection would work on loosening my muscles. He also told me that intercourse would definitely not be possible overnight and I would still have to use the dilators but I would eventually get there. So under anesthesia, I was given the BTX shots and the same evening I had graduated to the number three dilator. One month down and now I'm on no. 4. The pain I experienced before BTX has scared me enough to not try intercourse till I'm convinced I can handle the 5th and last dilator in the set. But hopefully I will get there soon.
Vaginismus is a condition that needs mental and physical attention. If Dr. Rajeev had probably not discussed things with me so openly I would have never managed to acknowledge my problem and treat myself for it. Talking helps just so much and when you know there is someone who understands your problem you stop feeling lonely too. My husband and I always knew that things weren’t normal with me but we had no clue what to do. 5 years into marriage and now I feel like I'm almost there with the last part of the battle left to fight. With the progress I've made so far, I should hopefully make it! I'd also like to add that this whole journey did not interfere with family planning as Dr. Rajeev knew it was on our mind and counselled us on assistive reproductive technologies and today im pregnant with the help of IVF!
Last but not the least - A huge huge thank you Dr. Rajeev!!