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So I went to a doctor and...

explained my traumatic pap experience. I asked him if he knew anything about vaginismus, he said yes and that he has treated it before. He told me that in order to treat my fear, I would have to do counseling and build trust. So his wife (who works with rape victims) is also a doctor so she is going to give me an external exam, and then eventually, when I am comfortable, attempt an internal exam. Because the doctor I went to who gave the pap didn't use lube and continued when I told her to stop, he's not sure if I'm having the involuntary spasms. It might have just been a really messed up pap that she administered. The original doctor got 2 fingers in without a problem after taking the speculum out (she lubed her fingers) and I can get my own finger in and I can insert a tampon without any problems. I explained how when I went to the hospital for a swollen inner labia, when the people were looking at the inner labia and touching, I started crying and broke out in hives. He asked me why he thought I had that reaction, and I said because I didn't trust them to not hurt me the way the doctor (who gave my pap) did.

I asked him if I would have to dilate, and he said that he doesn't think I will have to go down that route because I can fit a finger in and a tampon in. He asked me why I think that is so, and I said I think it is because I trust myself. He said that he doesn't think that I have vaginismus, but that with counseling and building trust exercises, I will be able to overcome this.

He told me that there is nothing wrong me, and that my fear of things being near my vagina is very common and healthy after what I experienced. He said that all women who experience vaginal trauma usually are afraid for awhile but as they build trust and go through counseling, they can overcome it.

Does this sound right?

Hello again! Smile

It's good to hear that you've been to a doctor. I've read through all your posts and I'm repeating myself, but yes, I guess the doctor is right. What you describe doesn't sound like vaginismus to me. You've been hurt and that's why you are afraid, but your vagina doesn't clamp up. Dilating would help a cramping vagina to get used to the feeling that something is inserted, but if I got you right your vagina does let fingers and speculums inside, and it doesn't hurt.

Maybe it helps if I describe my vaginismus to you. It's a severe case of primary vaginismus, and before starting to dilate, I couldn't get anything inside, not even a q-tip. It was like there was no opening. I've been dilating for one year now and trying to use tampons, which I succeeded in few months ago. Today I am able to insert a finger, tampons (minis and normal ones) or dilator #1 without much trouble, but dilator #2 still hurts and won't get inside.
I have a boyfriend and experience sexual desire, and I have no fear of men whatsoever. But I'm very much afraid of gynaecologists, although I've never had a bad experience. They always stopped when I started panicking. I guess it is a fear of doctors in general. When I was about eight or nine years old I had to have a blood sample taken. As you can imagine, I got afraid, and three people held me while the doctor forced the needle inside my arm. It was very traumatic. I wouldn't let any doctor take a blood sample until I turned 19 years old, and I still suffer from uneasiness when someone I don't know has to stick needles inside of me.

But, if you are afraid of something, you shouldn't avoid it, because your fear will become worse and worse. If you want to get rid of fears, you have to confront yourself with situations that frighten you, just like I did with having blood samples taken (it couldn't be avoided anyway, because I have hypothyroidism and need to have my blood checked regularly). Now I sometimes feel uneasy when someone that I don't know takes the blood sample, but I don't panic anymore. It's just something that needs to be done.

So, fears can be overcome by confronting yourself with them and therefore give yourself the opportunity to make positive experiences. Good experiences will balance bad experiences out and overlay them. A few pap smears without pain and your bad pap smear will lose its effect and you won't be as afraid anymore.

Also, your memory plays a big role. In your memory the bad experience can go two ways, depending on how you look at it. Memories tend to distort what really happened. The healthy way would be that the bad experience fades and becomes less and less terrifying. This will especially happen if you have positive experiences with pap smears.

Get to know your body well, and choose your doctors carefully. Pay attention to how they react to questions, and what they do while examining. Do they listen to you and answer in detail? Do they describe what they are going to do during the exam? Do they react appreciative when you tell them about your bad experience and that you are afraid? If yes, it's worth to try examination. If they don't listen to you, don't answer questions, if they don't pay much attention to your wellbeing, or if they just seem somewhat unlikeable to you, you are free to refuse examination and leave.

I'd suggest that you keep seeing that doctor. All the best for you! Smile

I can successfully insert my finger, a tampon, and the original doctor (who did my pap) inserted 2 lubricated fingers without pain. The only thing that was painful was the speculum, but that may have been because 1) she didn't use any lube, 2) she told me before she inserted the speculum that it would hurt because i'm a virgin, and 3) i was panicking and she kept forcing it so it only continued to hurt even more the further she forced it in.

Congratulations on your success with dilating!

The doctor I am currently seeing for this suggested that I have an external exam where his wife (also a doctor) just looks at the outside of my vagina and the inner labia. Then when I am comfortable, she can attempt an internal exam. Hopefully that will go smoothly and my memory of a bad pap will be replaced with a memory of a smooth one.

A bit off topic but I have hypothyroidism too, so does my mom and my sister and my grandma. I just found out I had it about a year ago.

junebug's latest

Hi again, junebug!

I'm so glad you found some good doctors to work with. It sounds like you are being very proactive in healing from your bad experience.

I think you are doing great!

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