It’s the most natural thing in the world and yet for women with vaginismus, sex is so painful it becomes impossible. To make matters worse, many women who have this condition don’t have a name for it. It’s just an unbearable pain and a feeling of dread that increases with every attempt to overcome it.
What Is Vaginismus?
In vaginismus, a woman’s vagina muscles contract involuntarily in response to physical contact in the vaginal area. Indeed often vaginismus sufferers find it impossible even to use tampons.
Dr Eskander, one of the UK’s leading gynaecologists and director of the The Gynae Centre tells us: “Here at the clinic, we’ve met vaginismus sufferers who had actually come to accept that they would never have sex, perhaps never get married. It really is impossible to overestimate how much of an effect it can have on a woman’s life.”
One of Dr Eskander’s own patients has written about her experience of vaginismus and how botox has helped her to have sex, over at Cosmopolitan.
All In The Mind?
Dr Eskander says: “Part of the problem for women with vaginismus is they frequently feel that the condition is somehow their fault, which is obviously not true at all.
“And indeed often doctors can find no basis for the problem. Women with vaginismus may have no history of trauma to explain it. We frequently hear women say: ‘No one knew what to do about it. I was told it was all in the mind.’
“Often by the time people come to see us at The Gynae Centre, they’ve tried everything – counselling, getting drunk, meditation, yoga, and nothing has helped.”
He continues: “Just because there is a psychosomatic basis to something, doesn’t mean the solution shouldn’t involve a physical intervention. In fact when the contraction reflex is so strong, Botox is frequently the only thing that can break the cycle. For vaginismus sufferers, the muscles contract so sharply, that simply ‘phasing in sex’, breaking down the aversion that way, is often impossible.”
That’s where Botox treatment comes in. Botox breaks the vicious cycle of contraction=pain=more contraction=more pain (and on and on). Instead, Botox treatment creates a virtuous cycle. Once a woman experiences sex without pain after Botox, she relaxes and begins to enjoy it, and the muscles learn to relax of their own accord.
How Does Botox For Vaginismus Work?
Botox works on vaginismus by relaxing the spastic vagina muscles that are obstructing penetration. The treatment generally takes place under local anaesthesia or sedation depending on the degree of vaginismus, because only then will a woman with vaginismus tolerate needles in her vaginal muscles.
With the use of these tiny needles, 200 units of Botox is administered (roughly a medium-sized dose) split between the three key vagina muscles that can obstruct penetration. We target only the areas causing spasm and obstruction (the vagina side walls), steering clear of the rectum and urethra to help prevent incontinence. Before treatment, we make sure any other problems have been ruled out, and through examination we determine which vaginal muscles tend to spasm the most. Generally this is the entry muscle, which therefore receives a higher dose.
How Many Treatments Are Needed And How Much Does It Cost?
The Gynae Centre is London’s leading gynaecology clinic, home to the UK’s finest specialists experienced in treating this little-understood problem.
We find usually only one Botox treatment is necessary, despite the fact that Botox lasts around four months. This is because of the virtuous cycle explained above. Once the Botox has relaxed the muscles of the vagina, making it possible to use dilators and gradually build up tolerance, intercourse can then be achieved. Once this happens, a woman realises sex is comfortable and becomes used to it, and additional treatments are rarely necessary at all.
The treatment has been shown to be effective in around 90% of women.1
If you think you may be suffering with vaginismus, you don’t have to suffer and let intimacy pass you by. If sex is painful, call The Gynae Centre for a consultation with Dr Eskander on 020 7580 8090.