Living with vaginismus (tight vaginal area) is no fun. I had it for a few months in my late teens. Then my vaginismus came back around 30 years later in 2018.
All these years later, doctors are still very clinical when they diagnose, and there are often long waiting lists to see specialists.
So as I had to wait a few months to see a specialist, I turned to the internet to learn as much as I could about what was happening to my body.
Back in the 1980’s when I had vaginismus the first time, there was no internet, and doctors didn’t offer treatment (well at least mine didn’t), so basically I had to just wait for it to go away – (Which it did, 5 – 6 months later).
My doctor at the time had told me it was not my fault the vaginal area had clenched up, and it was caused by my subconscious.
You can see my story about this – When Down There Is Too Tight And Painful To Have Sex – My story – Part 1
All these years later (2019) most doctors agree that there is a psychological/subconscious element, as well as various other conditions that can cause vaginismus.
For me – The reasons for my vaginal area clenching up/tightening are different for each time frame I suffered with this.
The first time around(in the 1980’s) was largely due to my body being in shock mode after a loved one passed away. So this definitely had a subconscious element to it.
This time around (2019 to current) I have hit the over 50 age group, and entered into menopause. My vaginal are got sore, dry, and lost a lot of elasticity, which played a role in my vaginal area becoming too tight to have pain free penetration.
My Story Part 2: My Vaginismus Came Back
I had no idea that my vaginal area had clenched up until I went for a smear test in February (2018).
Ladies, as you can all relate it is never a pleasant time when you are laying there as the doctor/nurse is coming toward you with the speculum to do the smear.
Although it’s easy to, and understandable to tense up a bit at the time, I was used to getting these tests done, and never had a problem, or tensed up majorly, or had pain with it in the past.
But that changed on the smear test episode last year.
I was relaxed and the nurse proceeded to do the test. Then to my horror, the nurse couldn’t insert the speculum. I felt pain and it was like my vaginal area had shrunk.
She applied more lubricant on the speculum, and around my vaginal area, and after a few more attempts, she was able to insert the speculum.
My vaginal area was still very tight, and moderately painful.
I felt embarrassed and couldn’t wait to leave. The nurse was very understanding about it, and said this can happen sometimes.
I left her office feeling a bit shocked at what had just happened, thankful I didn’t need to have another smear test done for 3 years.
I had no idea things had shrunk in my lady bit, as I’d been on the Depo-Provera contraception injection for years (due to heavy monthly cycles if I wasn’t on contraception).
So of course, I never had the need to use tampons. Often ladies have an idea their vaginal area has tightened when they try to insert tampons, or when in a sexual relationship.
Well, I wasn’t in a sexual relationship either, so I’m not really sure when my vaginismus came back, but I do know I didn’t have it a year beforehand.
‘If you have read my first story – The marriage I was in during the first time I had a spell of vaginismus, didn’t last. Our reason for parting was not related to me having vaginismus then, in-fact it had been gone for a while, when we parted.’
The smear test results came back clear a few days after the test.
It was also around early February (2018) when I was told I couldn’t have the Depo-provera injection anymore, as I had been on it for too long. It was also presumed I had gone through menopause, by the doctor.
For the Next Few Months Following The Smear Test…
I would check myself at least once a week to see if my Va jay jay area was still shrunken.
It remained smaller, and on some days insertion of anything was virtually impossible to do, and very painful. It was like the opening had closed up. It felt like some kind of bone was blocking the entrance at times.
I was also experiencing burning in my vulva area, and vaginal opening from time to time, and that was without trying to insert anything.
Because I wasn’t in a sexual relationship, I held off going to see the doctor about things, and just hoped it would go away.
I’d forgotten all about having a tight vaginal area years ago.
By May (2018) the burning had got worse and more often. My lady fluid had also changed and I began to think I may have an infection of some sort.
I Finally Bucked Up Enough Courage To See My Doctor About It
I wasn’t looking forward to this appointment, as I was afraid of having to have an internal examination.
Luckily for me my doctor is a very understanding lady.
(Note: From reading many stories about others with vaginismus, I noticed that many women are not taken seriously, or mis-diagnosed when they tell their healthcare professional about what is happening to them.
If this has happened to you, please do go and find another healthcare professional. You shouldn’t have to suffer. Vaginismus and many other lady part problems can be treated.)
I told her what had been going on, and the first thing she said was, “It’s most likely to be caused by a drop in your estrogen levels, and that this can cause the symptoms you have”.
She told me she could take a swab to check for any infection, and that she wouldn’t need to insert a speculum, just the small swab stick.
I felt so relieved, as I sure didn’t want to be in pain.
She used lubricant and the swab test was not painful. At the same time she also checked out the vulva area.
After completing this, she prescribed a seven day canesten (a vaginal cream) treatment, to treat any possible yeast infection, and sent a referral through to a public health gynecologist to examine me for a second opinion, in regards to the possible estrogen cause.
There was also a mention that the gynecologist may also refer me to a pelvic floor specialist for pelvic floor exercises (kegels) etc.
It was not easy for me to insert the medication. (Canesten comes with a tubular applicator so you can insert the cream inside your vagina). It took a few attempts each time I applied it. I found gently twisting the applicator as I was inserting it, to be helpful.
My doctor contacted me again within 48 hours, to tell me I had no infection, and could stop taking the canesten cream.
It was a four month wait, until I could be fitted in to see the gynecologist.
During this waiting time, the burning and tightness got worse.
I had started to do kegel exercises, as I wasn’t prepared to wait a long time to eventually get referred to the pelvic floor specialist. I was also hoping by doing so, I may fix the problem before the appointment came along.
By this time, I had also remembered having vaginal tightness years ago.
So, I searched the internet for many days/hours, and was amazed about how much information there is about my condition – vaginismus, related conditions, and menopausal related conditions.
I read about others with vaginismus, and what did or didn’t work for them.
(I have included some of the support group forums on this website as you may find them beneficial, See – Support.)
After doing kegals for a couple of months, I noticed no change in my vaginal tightness. Some days were worse than others.
This is when I stumbled upon one entry in a forum about a girl that found kegels didn’t work for her either. She found stopping doing standard kegels, and doing reverse kegels (concentrating on relaxing the pelvic floor muscles rather than adding the clenching part) helped her to loosen her vaginal area.
So I searched the internet on how to do this, and came across many video’s. My favorite one is by Physiotherapist Dr Bri – Pelvic Floor Release Stretches.
As time goes by I will add more exercises for tight pelvic floor muscles. You can view them in the Pelvic Floor Relaxation Section.
I noticed that when I did these, my vaginal tightness had lessened in severity. I continued to do these, and after a few months, I started to do kegels again as well.
Along came early October 2018, I finally had an appointment to see the Gynecologist.
My Gynecologist Was Very Thorough
My gynecologist was a female (I had requested to have a female), the appointment was for an hour, and wow she was thorough. At the beginning she asked me a lot of medical questions about my:
How many times a day I emptied my bowel,
If I had any urine leakage (this can be caused from low estrogen levels to),
My sexual health,
How many pregnancies I had had, and then asked about what I was currently experiencing.
She said my symptoms were most likely caused by menopausal issues eg: low estrogen hormone level, but would need to give me an internal examination to confirm.
I tensed up majorly on this option, but the gynecologist was very understanding, and offered to apply a numbing medication to my vaginal area before inserting anything.
The Internal Examination
Things had changed since I last saw a gynecologist. Instead of laying on a bed for the internal examination, I was laying on what reminded me of a dentist chair that laid back.
It had all kinds of gadgets coming off it, and oh yes leg holders for by legs to be in while the examination was performed. There was also a screen that showed my internal lady parts.
Sorry I forgot to ask the gynecologist what this state of the art chair looking thing was called.
A nurse held my had while the gynecologist applied a numbing medication to my vaginal area.
The gynecologist examined the tissue in my vulva and vaginal area. When it came time for her to insert her finger to do the internal examination, it didn’t hurt.
When doing so, she mentioned there was resistance in my vaginal area when she inserted her finger. (In other words, tightness).
She explained everything to me while she did the examination, and offered to do an internal vaginal biopsy if I wanted one. When she asked me this, she made it clear that she didn’t feel I had cancer, but was happy to do the biopsy while she was examining down there.
I agreed to the biopsy as I thought why not, and at least if anything cancerous was going on, early detection would give me a better chance of healing successfully.
The biopsy wasn’t painful. I just had a little bleeding afterwards.
Once the gynecologist had completed the examination, we went into her office and she confirmed what my doctor had suspected.
She said I had menopausal atrophy (also known as vaginal atrophy, atrophic vaginitis, vulvovaginal atrophy – VVA), and explained that my vaginal walls, tissues were shrinking/thinning, drying and inflamed due to having less estrogen.
She also said this was why my vaginal entrance was tight, and why I was experiencing burning and discomfort in my vulva area.
She sent a letter to my doctor with her diagnosis, and recommended her to put me on Ovestin cream (an internal estrogen/estriol cream) to help to alleviate the symptoms I have.
(NOTE: Ladies if you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your lady parts down below, please do talk to your doctor about it, in most cases painful sex and sore lady parts can be treated.
These types of lady issues are more common than you think, but most ladies suffer in silence, please don’t be one of them.)
Vaginismus was not mentioned at this point, and I was told I didn’t need to see the gynecologist again.
There was a delay in getting my Ovestin prescription. My doctor thought the gynecologist had written one for me, so never sent me one.
As I was a bit skeptical about being on hormone therapy, I didn’t call my doctors office until 4-5 weeks later about getting the prescription.
My doctor confirmed to me that the type of estrogen (Ovestin cream) I was being given, is recommended as safe because it is an internal vaginal cream, and not much of it goes into the blood stream.
This gave me peace of mind, so I started using the Ovestin cream around mid November 2018. I got bad tension headaches, sore achey legs, and bloating while on it so stopped using it after 4 days.
(When you first start using Ovestin Vaginal cream the standard directions are to, apply it inside your vagina once a day for 2 weeks, then twice a week after that.)
The headaches and bloating went away soon after I stopped using it.
A couple of weeks after this – and around 2 months after seeing the gynecologist, I received an appointment to see the pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Yip another long wait. From what I have read, many other ladies have had to wait long periods of time to see a specialist as well. Particularly in the public health system.
My 1st Appointment With
The Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
At the end of November 2018, I had my first appointment with the pelvic floor physiotherapist (PFP). This appointment was for 1 hour.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and sure hoped no internal examination would be done here to.
My Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist is a very relaxed open minded lady.
I felt at ease with her quite quickly.
Just like the gynecologist, she asked me about my general health, sexual health, as well as what I was currently experiencing.
She also asked what my bowel and urinary habits were like. In other words how many times a day I emptied my bowel, and whether I had any urine leakage (this can be caused from low estrogen levels to) .
At the end of the questionnaire, I was asked what I wanted to achieve out of the pelvic floor therapy. I replied, “To be able to have sex as at the moment things are a no go zone down there, and I’m hoping Mr right will come along soon.”
NOTE: The reason she asked me all the above questions was for her to come up with a treatment plan for me.
I mentioned to her that I didn’t want to do kegels (pelvic floor exercises), as I had already been doing them, and they were not working.
I continued to tell her that I had read about reverse kegels, and had been doing pelvic floor release exercises and had found them more beneficial.
I must add here, I am someone that is familiar with yoga, and meditation and since doing the reverse kegels, I have gone back to doing gentle yoga regularly for other parts of my body too.
I feel that the body has a flow on effect. If one area is tight, it is likely that other surrounding areas are effected to, even though you may not realize it at the time. As time goes by I will also add gentle yoga/stretch exercises to this site.
She asked me how I was doing the standard kegels, and confirmed I had been doing them correctly.
As for the reverse kegels, her method for this was more of a meditative visualization technique, where you visualize the vaginal area opening expanding.
Just in case you are not sure what meditation visualization is, Physiotherapist Dr Bri (Not my pelvic floor specialist) has a good video that focuses on the pelvic floor area – Guided Meditation for Pelvic Floor Relaxation.
I also let my physiotherapist know I had gone off the Ovestin treatment, and that I would go to my doctor to see if there is something else I could have instead, due to my side effects.
My PFP confirmed that a lot of my symptoms would be caused from the thinning, and drying out of tissues in my vulva, and vaginal areas (menopausal atrophy).
I also asked her why the entrance to my va jay jay felt like a bone had moved and blocked the entrance. She said that this was in-fact the tight muscle, and not a bone.
This gave me a little bit of a peace of mind, as at times it had felt like a bone was in the way.
She explained things in more detail than what the gynecologist did. Please note, I’m not trying to downplay the gynecologist.
Quite often the appointment duration times are limited, and many doctors don’t have the time to explain things, as thoroughly as may be needed, so give a rushed clinical explanation.
It’s also important for me to mention here, that as you can all relate, when a doctor first tells you, you have some sort of condition, it’s not uncommon to feel confused, or over whelmed until you have had time to think about it. And by this time, you have usually already left the doctors office.
Toward the end of this appointment, my PFP advised me to do kegels, and gave me a pamphlet about kegels. She mentioned for me to do less sets of them, and to make sure I did them slowly.
I told her I would continue to do kegels, but would do the reverse keges more often. She was open to this and arranged for me to see her again after the Christmas period, in mid January 2019.
There was still no mention, that I had vaginismus.
As I was getting up to leave, she quickly said, “Another time I may get you to insert something”.
I instantly felt embarrassed and a bit fearful, so just quickly said, “Oh okay”, and left.
Because I had been researching everything I could about what was happening to me, I knew what my PFP was meaning, when she said, “Another time I may get you to insert something”.
One of the most common forms of treatment for vaginismus (tight vaginal area), is dilator training. This involves inserting a tubular shaped device into your vaginal area to stretch it.
The concept to this, is you start with a small one and work your way up to being able to insert a penis sized one, over time.
(“DISCLOSURE – Lady Parts Gone Wrong.com may get commissions for purchases made through various links and/or banners in this post.”)
If you are unsure what a dilator is, or are at the stage you want to purchase one – You can view/purchase the dilators here.
Just before Christmas 2018 I went to see my doctor about the side effects I was having on the Ovestin cream.
She suggested for me to just use half of the usual required amount, and to try taking it once a week for a couple of weeks, then after that, see how I go using half the amount twice a week.
In early January 2019 (after the holiday break) I went back on the Ovestin cream as my doctor advised.
I will continue my updates for 2019 on part three of my story – (Coming soon).
Part 3 – I Have Vaginismus And Vaginal Atrophy, includes dilator therapy and useful tips I have learnt in regards to this, as well as how I soothe my tender, often sore vaginal area.
As time goes by I will also add more articles to this website about what I have learnt on my vaginismus, and menopausal (vaginal atrophy) journey.
Article brought to you by Ms Tight
For more Lady Stuff Articles SUBSCRIBE to our NEWSLETTER
“(DISCLAIMER: I am not a health care professional, the information in this article is based on my own personal experience of living with vaginismus, vaginal atrophy (including menopause issues), and what I have learned along the way. Some articles on this website will include other womanly issues that I feel women need to know about. If you have any concerns about your health, it is best for you to seek advice from a health care professional – Full disclaimer)“.