Posts tagged ‘chronic vulvar pain condition’

Things in my vagina these days

Written 11 days ago

Things in my vagina these days:

-My gynecologist
-Physical therapist
-Possibly my new myofascial release therapist, who can also do intravaginal release
-Valium (no shit, I have vaginal Valium that gets inserted to help my too-tight pelvic floor muscles chill the fuck OUT already. Yes, I immediately texted several friends as soon as my specialist prescribed it with, “You’ll never guess what I got just prescribed!” texts.)
-Dilators (I have two, primarily use the larger one, and will likely be moving up to the extra large on my next PT visit)
-Therawand
-My partners (my favorite things to have in my vagina!)

It’s kind of amazing what a happening place my vagina is right now, and how much I’m paying for it. Isn’t that supposed to work the other way around?

In other news, I am considering starting a blog about my pelvic floor dysfunction and the process around healing that. I need space to talk about it (and am lucky to have partners and friends who listen patiently to my vaginal healing exploits), and I suspect it might help others to see what that process can look like.

And on the plus side, I think I am thoroughly done with the shame around this. I know more people who have/had pelvic floor dysfunction than I’d realized, it has a lot to do with shit endemic to our culture, and it is never and never was any sort of personal failing. It’s an intense medical process I’m undergoing now to get it all healthy, and I think I finally exorcized what used to be a considerable amount of shame around all of this. So I’m good, and if you hear me mention this stuff in passing, and potentially in public, don’t be surprised or shocked. It’s where a huge portion of my time and energy and money are going these days, and it’s a big focus in my life. And what’s more important than getting myself healthy?

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Four week update

Written about a month ago

I’m four sessions into PT. Within a session or two, I started really locating the source of my issues; I think I had been noticing less specifically where the pain was occurring and having some referred pain. I feel like I have a much better sense of what the muscular problems are and where.

I am responding well to PT. The muscles are definitely relaxing more. I use dilators and a Therawand at home, have thigh stretches, do some light myofascial work on my stomach, and am supposed to squat several times a day to help relax my pelvic floor (I typically forget this but finally set phone reminders for myself four times a day, which should help significantly). My muscles are definitely less reactive, I’ve found better ways to adjust when I need to, and everything hurts less when it does get tight.

The session I had yesterday, she worked on some of the areas with surface issues (vs the muscular problems). Apparently the tissue underneath those super sensitive raw areas is really thick. She held several spots, which was uncomfortable, but then they released. It’s the first time I think I’ve really felt like this might actually resolve the entire issue in the long run, including all the surface irritation. I’m pretty amazed; I didn’t know that could happen.

I’ve also discovered Katy Bowman, thanks to a friend. She’s a biomechanist who talks a lot about the pelvic floor, among other things (apparently 80% of women have pelvic floor issues at some point during their lives. 80%). I’m working on changing my shoes and my overall movement patterns to support health in my pelvic floor and my whole body. Its also given me an avenue to see how this might have developed, without any underlying emotional trauma, and to help support my continued healing.

All of this is pricey, and my insurance doesn’t cover it. But I feel like this is a good use of some of the savings I have. I’m happy about my progress, and pretty excited about maybe finally getting my nether regions to a truly healthy state.

My chronic vulvar pain

First written about two months ago.

It’s been about ten years since I first developed my chronic vulvar pain condition.

I didn’t know what was happening at first. By the time I figured it out and got my self-diagnosis confirmed at Planned Parenthood, I knew vulvar vestibulitis meant a condition that virtually no one knew how to treat, let alone cure.

I felt broken, defective, and ashamed to my core. I would be insanely jealous of random women I saw on the street, because they probably didn’t have the intense burning during sex and for 48 hours afterwards. I had sex anyway and just dealt with the pain as long as I could. I couldn’t handle being vocal about it with the sexual partner I had at the time, and he didn’t care enough to check in.

It was a couple years later that I found the treatment I’ve been using since. Topical capsaicin burns quite unpleasantly when I use it, but it is pretty effective at depleting the chemicals that cause the pain cascade during intercourse, and it leaves me sexually functional.

Eight years later, a few months ago, I decided to see what else I could do.

Tomorrow, I start PT; specifically, pelvic floor rehabilitation. I will be going to a clinic with two PTs who do only pelvic floor rehabilitation, and we will work primarily on getting one specific muscle to relax, along with whatever else is connected to it. My new specialist, one of the best doctors I’ve seen in my life, thinks that this should solve the majority of my issue, addressing it at the cause.

Sometimes I think it would be easier if there were trauma I could associate with it. Sometimes I feel like there has to have been something, that I’m missing something, bypassing some memory, or maybe it was small and cumulative. I haven’t been able to find anything, and I don’t know whether I’m missing it or not.

I’ve been ashamed of this condition since I developed it. Sometimes I’m ashamed that I have to make adjustments during sex to keep my pelvic floor muscles reasonably happy. Sometimes I still feel a little defective.

But I’ve batted around the idea for years now of being more open about it, because that’s what kills the shame, and because I know that some women who read this are experiencing, or have experienced, the same thing, and because there is power in not being alone with it.

And because I want them all to know that there are people like my partner who, both times I have ever apologized to him for needing to make an adjustment during sex because of my muscles, said, “You don’t EVER apologize to me for your muscles.” People like my ex of years ago, who, plenty flawed on his own in so many ways, never once complained when we stopped having intercourse before I found capsaicin, and just had a lot of oral sex with me instead.

For all the several uncaring partners I’ve had, I’ve had several who’ve made it clear that I was always what was important, not that slightly deeper thrust. That I was never defective to them.

It’s amazing to think that, after ten years, I might be able to correct the underlying problem.

Wish me luck.