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Tension Between the Sheets: a Patient’s Vaginismus Journey

Approximately 20% of women will encounter vaginismus or Genito-Pelvic Pain Penetration Disorder. Addressing this condition holds immense personal significance for us, as we are dedicated to supporting women in their journey to overcome it.

Today, we aim to share the spectrum of emotions – the despair, the hope, and the joy – by sharing the personal account of ‘X’ and her experience with vaginismus through Embrace. It is our sincere hope that her story resonates with others, encouraging them to reach out. We extend our gratitude to ‘X’ for bravely sharing her testimony.

My husband and I chose to wait until marriage to have intercourse, and having been together since high school, you can only imagine the anticipation for our wedding night! Unexpectedly, we faced the challenge of being unable to consummate our marriage because it was painful, and penetration seemed impossible. Despite the disappointment, we remained optimistic, opting for a wait-and-see approach, persistently trying to overcome the hurdle as we tried again.

A year and a half later, and we saw no signs of improvement. Finally, I decided it would be best to seek help and consult an OB/GYN. Through countless ultrasounds, a D&C procedure, and a laparoscopic surgery, I received a diagnosis of endometriosis. It dawned on me that the painful periods and heavy bleeding, which occasionally led to missed school or work, were not the norm as I had thought. Albeit a diagnosis, it left me feeling a mix of relief and hope, anticipating that my husband and I would now move forward with this diagnosis.

Unfortunately, luck was not on our side. The journey from the endometriosis diagnosis to treatment spanned three years, and despite feeling significantly better afterwards, our struggles with intimacy persisted. While my husband remained incredibly supportive, I couldn’t shake the feeling of my biological clock ticking and wanting a family became increasingly urgent. Ultimately, my doctor recommended exploring the expertise of a sex therapist or a fertility therapist, recognizing that endometriosis was no longer the problem of our intimacy issues.

At this point, I had been feeling hopeless and out of options so I decided to do my own research. I came across vaginismus and it seemed to accurately describe that feeling of hitting a brick wall we experienced every time we had intercourse. Furthermore, I stumbled upon some online forums for treatment and I read people suggested pelvic floor physiotherapy. I was familiar with physiotherapy for issues like a bad back or a broken limb, but the concept of physiotherapy for a woman’s pelvic floor was entirely new to me. Intrigued and open to exploring various options, I began my search for a pelvic floor physiotherapist in Singapore and discovered Preet Singh at Embrace Physiotherapy.

Upon booking my appointment, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire. The first thing that struck me was how comprehensive the questionnaire was. It covered everything, delving into aspects ranging from my medical history to my emotional experiences with pain, and even my sleep patterns. Some of the questions definitely left me wondering: What does this have to do with my problem? During my very first session with Preet, I got my answer.

She explained how our pelvic floor muscles work and the importance of the mind-body connection. I also learnt how my years of dealing with endometriosis made my pelvic floor muscles clench as an involuntary way of protecting myself against perceived pain. Preet’s expertise was complemented by her approachable demeanour, which made our session comfortable for me. Together, we worked on my treatment plan, focusing on a combination of relaxation and breathing techniques, pelvic floor examinations and exercises, dilator work, as well as ways to involve my partner through this journey.

As a result of a three-month journey of perseverance and commitment to routine, my husband and I were finally able to achieve pleasurable intimacy. Since the experience wasn’t entirely pain-free, I remained dedicated to my sessions with Preet. She encouraged me to continue my exercises and even adjusted my exercise programme and treatment plan based on my feedback. While I know that I’m a work in progress, I’m thrilled to share that I am currently six months pregnant—a testament to the journey I had with Preet and her unwavering support.

Around this time last year, I found myself frantically searching the Internet for solutions to my problem, and it’s astounding to think about where I am now after this journey. I hope the woman reading this now knows that there is hope. Help is out there and it starts with taking that leap and asking for it. While it was crucial for me to get medical treatment for my endometriosis, the problem I first sought help for wasn’t solved until I met Preet. Embrace Physiotherapy gave me the essential holistic approach, which is important when you’re seeking help.

It may be common, but it should not be normal. If you are experiencing difficulty in penetration, please call or WhatsApp us at 9780 7274, or email us at help@embracephysio.sg so we can talk about a treatment plan for you. 

Feel free to look through our website, where you can learn about other women’s health conditions we treat. This is a safe space where we can discuss how we can help you with physiotherapy.

Note: While I am a physiotherapist, I am not your personal physiotherapist. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as individual medical advice.

References:

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-842X.2003.tb00804.x
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laparoscopy
  4. https://www.embracephysio.sg/how-can-physiotherapy-help-my-endometriosis/
  5. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-vaginismus-how-physiotherapy-can-help-your-symptoms/#content
  6. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-a-womans-pelvic-floor/#content
5 Star Google Reviews
Embrace Physiotherapy is committed to 5 star client satisfaction.

My healing journey at Embrace started exactly 2 years ago, Jan 2021. I saw Preet for DR and other pelvic matters. Preet had excellent bedside manners and I was always comfortable with her. Shortly after, I was able to join the pilates group class taught by Brenda. As I was already a patient, Brenda had access to my condition and was able to check on me each class. Slowly but surely, I was given the go ahead to start running. I felt safe in all my exercise classes at Embrace because Brenda is attentive and had my progress in mind. Even my recent classes with Deborah are just as thoughtful and beneficial. When I had a bad fall late October 2022, Alex helped me through the months of recovery. She identified my "moving injuries" and explained clearly what I had to do to get better. She also has a great sense of humour! My 2 favourite ladies, Su and Alicia, are super cheerful and helpful in scheduling appointments and texting reminders. They are superstars! It's always comforting to step into Embrace. Thanks guys!

May Leung Avatar May Leung
January 14, 2023

Preet and her team have been helping me to improve my core strength since the birth of my second child last year. I cannot recommend them more highly for the professional and warm service provided. Preet is highly knowledgeable and competent in post-partum recovery.

Stephanie Krebs Avatar Stephanie Krebs
June 7, 2023

I had a fantastic experience visiting Preet’s clinic 6 weeks after I delivered my baby. The physio Alex was detailed, caring and thorough in her assessment of my pelvic floor, back and abdominal muscles. The clinic is a beautiful, calming place and perfect for new mums to get taken care of. Thank you and I would definitely recommend visiting Embrace not just for post-partum issues, but any issues to do with your physical well being particularly for women’s health. Keep up the good work Preet, Alex and the Embrace team!!

Ashima Taneja Avatar Ashima Taneja
February 3, 2022

Embrace life. Embrace Physiotherapy.

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