It's NOT all in your head
March 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm #18899
Hi all. In a prior thread, Sofi has written:
“I wasted about 6 years with doctors who had never heard of vaginismus. I was told that it was all in my head, recommended therapy, even had doctors suggest that I try having a drink or two before sex to relax. Thinking back on it, these doctor visits not only prevented me from the proper treatment, but reinforced my vaginismus through painful examinations. Those doctors made me feel like I was truly crazy!”
And, in a very recent post, another forum member wrote concerning how the doctor who treated her made her feel like her condition of vaginismus was all in her head.
In an excellent reply post, Dr. BatSheva wrote:
“[i]t’s not clear to me where you did the botox treatment, but the practitioners should be working with you and NOT telling you i’ts all in your head. You should be in regular with them…”
It’s so, so comforting to me to know that there are doctors out there like Dr. Pacik and Dr. BatSheva that understand vaginismus and realize that it’s not just in your head and has a real physical component that needs to be addressed and treated as well.
What have been your own experiences here?June 21, 2016 at 7:45 pm #19406
Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWModerator
Most of our vaginismus patients have all been told “It is in your head,” or “Have a drink, and just relax.” And for months and even years many of them thought this was true and just kept “trying.” However, because it was not all “In their head” nothing got better. It is shocking how little many health care professionals including doctors and therapists do not know the facts about vaginismus. This lack of knowledge only perpetuates the shame and frustration so many women with vaginismus feel. Thankfully this forum can help reach those of you who were told to “just relax” and know you are not alone.July 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm #19522
On 8/8/14, Dr. Pacik wrote:
“Your comments were included in Table 2 of the published Clinical Opinion paper as noted below.
What your patients do not want to hear (condescending remarks)
“Don’t be a baby”
“Can’t you just relax”
“It’s all in your head” (very common)
“Come back when you are more relaxed”
“Have a drink” (also common)
“You need to take a Valium before you come for an exam. It’s just because you are nervous.”
“You need to practice stretching your vagina”
“It’s just first time jitters”
“It will get better with time”
“Let me recommend some lubricants”
“You need to stop believing that your vagina is messed up because you are the one causing this and stopping yourself from having a normal sex life.” (This comment after successful treatment of severe vaginismus but crying because of the speculum exam.)
“The pain will go away after you have had sex a few times. You will get used to it.”
“You know what, I’m going to use the baby speculum” (which never worked)
“There’s nothing physically wrong with you”
“There must be something wrong with your relationship”
“Just tell yourself sex won’t hurt and it will be okay”
“I won’t examine you again until you receive sex therapy. Here is the name of a sex therapist that I recommend. After you see her, you can come back to try an exam.” –
I’m still shaking my head in disbelief!
I am encouraging patients to send a copy of this paper to their doctors both to get a more meaningful referral for treatment (which helps with insurance reimbursement) and so the doctors themselves can better understand this condition.”
I think it’s so, so sad that so many health professionals know so little about vaginismus. I guess the good news is progress is finally being made and it is finally being taught in medical schools and talked about at conferences and seminars. Ladies, like Nicole said, please, please know that “it’s not all in your head” and if you have heard so many of the statements similar to what is written above, know that you are not alone and that there is an extremely successful treatment for vaginismus. By being a part of this Forum and reading this post today, you are taking the very first step in educating yourself. Please know we are all here for you always!!!November 21, 2016 at 11:26 pm #20159
Rachel Hercman, LCSWModerator
The idea that it’s “all in your head” is something we hear about ALL OF THE TIME here. SO many of our patients have had that experience. It feels so bad to hear that, over and over and over again. I really wish more practioners knew about this condition. For today, we will continue our work in creating awareness around this issue and help women know they are not alone in this.
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