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Vaginal Pain from a Hormonal Imbalance

"I was very surprised that it took 6 weeks to fix something that had been an issue for a year and a half!"

By the time I came to the Medical Center for Female Sexuality, I had a combo platter of problems. I was having painful intercourse and it would bleed every time. It had gotten to the point where it was hurting too much sometimes to even have intercourse, as it felt like the entrance was swollen shut and not letting in any visitors; even tampons were hurting to push through. If we were successful on getting the penis in, I was in too much pain to enjoy it, and ultimately was losing my interest in sex with my partner, not because I didn't find him attractive, but because I was associating sex with pain.

This went on for a year and a half. My gynecologist couldn't figure out what was wrong, despite blood tests, a biopsy and an ultrasound. I was even referred to a urologist, was fully tested in that department, and everything kept coming back normal. I then began researching the symptoms myself and that's when I decided to see a specialist and came across the Medical Center for Female Sexuality.

I had researched Vaginismus and figured that could be what I had. I then did an internet search looking for doctors that handle that type of medical condition and found the Center and another out on Long Island. I called both for information, and the Center seemed much nicer and helpful on the phone. The other place sounded inconvenienced, which didn't seem like the most welcoming place to go for this type of an issue.

By the time I made the call, I had exhausted all my other attempts. My regular Gynecologist couldn't figure it out, so I knew if it was ever going to be fixed I needed someone who specialized in it. It wasn't hard to make the call; it was something I wish I had done sooner.

The first appointment was encouraging. I finally felt I had someone who was willing to listen and help figure it out. I didn't feel like I was being rushed out the door and was just a number. The first appointment was a lot longer than I had expected, I was there for about 2 hours, and I could already tell the staff at the Center knew what they were doing and what they were talking about. They were able to point out and show me some of what was going on and you could tell they had dealt with these issues before and that I wasn't alone in having these types of issues.

The bleeding from sex and irritation and pain seemed to come from being on the wrong birth control for too long. This birth control had screwed up my Testosterone and estrogen levels causing the area to not be as pliable, and to be irritated, and causing my desire level to go down from what was normal for me. My other issue was that I have developed vaginismus, which is an involuntary muscle spasm of the muscle ground in the pelvis area. This is what was causing me to have issues pushing a tampon or a penis in, and why it felt like I was hitting a block. Back when this all started, I had managed to get a scab on my cervix, and around that time I was using warming lube. The warming lube would get into the open would and was causing an intense pain upon entry. Not realizing this was what was going on, me and my partner had continued to use this lube for awhile which caused me to tense up upon entry, and eventually caused a muscle memory of associating entry with pain, causing a muscle spasm.

For the estrogen and testosterone levels, we started a treatment of creams that I'd apply to the affected area along with pills I would take daily to help get those levels back to normal. The Center also took me off birth control so we could evaluate new types that would work better and not cause these issues. For the Vaginismus, we used dilators. You start off with a small one and work your way up in size weekly to help stretch out the muscle group and get it used to something being in there. Depending on how well the muscle responds dictates how quickly you move up in sizes. You go until you are 2 sizes bigger than your partner so that you know it won't be an issue. Of course I had to abstain while going through this process as to not derail it, but I still had to be intimate with my partner so that my body and mind could start associating being with him as not being painful and we could re-gain the intimacy while we were going through this.

I was very surprised that it took 6 weeks to fix something that had been an issue for a year and a half! I feel all better and back to normal.

I learned that it's ok to see a specialist even without a referral if you feel they might be able to help., and for any women out there that are having problems, It sometimes takes less time to solve the problem then it took to live with it. I wish I had known about this place earlier into the problem, but am glad I finally got back on track and able to have pain free sex again!

-- Michelle S --
32 Years Old

 

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Information provided on this website is authored and edited by Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, LMSW, MPH, PhD
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