Fiona, a sexual health doctor, has recently completed the ‘Cure your Vaginismus and Thrive Programme’. Here, she shares her insights into the condition from the perspective of a medical professional.
She says ” I am great. Things are going very well. I am having, dare I say it, good sex! Not just penetration. I feel strong and confident with a sense of power I have never had and it’s great. The impact the Thrive Programme has gone way beyond curing my vaginismus and I will be eternally grateful.
Below, she has kindly answered some questions about vaginismus and how she successfully overcame it…
How did having vaginismus affect you?
Vaginismus had a profound effect on me. I had suffered for many years and numerous relationships had been affected. My confidence was low and I felt unwomanly. It was always on my mind and I thought about it a lot. It really did consume and preoccupy me
What made you decide to do the Cure your Vaginismus and Thrive Programme, rather than any other intervention?
I had tried other interventions before; counselling, isolated dilator use and reading lots about the causes of vaginismus, none of which had much impact other than to make me feel more desperately sad when they didn’t work. After years of ignoring the problem I reached a point after meeting a new partner when I knew I had to try again. Reading about the Cure your Vaginismus and Thrive Programme it seemed too good to be true be honest but I wanted to try. The testimonials were outstanding and I felt really inspired and excited that it might actually work
What sort of effort did you have to put into the programme in order to make it a success?
At the outset, the programme clearly states effort and commitment is required and I was nervous that it required huge amounts of work or I wouldn’t see results without putting in unreasonable levels of time and effort. Yes, I worked hard at this (It doesn’t just happen by magic!) but the programme guides you through so well it never felt like a big effort. There are exercises to do and lots to think about but I found the process so rewarding and learnt so much it never felt difficult.
Prior to doing the programme, you had avoided trying to insert anything in your vagina. What was is like when you first did insert something?
Amazing! I (typically) had avoided the first insertion exercise of inserting a cotton bud, putting it off fearing all the things I had worried about for years; pain/failure etc. When I eventually tried, using the techniques the Thrive Programme had taught me it was easy! I couldn’t believe it. It was a complete success and was such a boost. It was exciting and emotional and I knew then the programme was going to be a success.
How has life changed for you since completing the programme?
I feel like a different person. This may sound like a dramatic exaggeration but I really do. I have gained so much personal insight it really is quite amazing. I am still doing the same job, in the same relationship etc but how I feel, my outlook and how I live day to day are very different. Simple techniques and new knowledge about myself gained from the programme have been invaluable. My sense of control and the way I process things has improved so much I really do feel like I am thriving. Life is great!
What advice would you give to women who believe the symptom is a purely physical one, rather than one caused by psychological factors.
I am a medical doctor and thought I knew everything about vaginismus. I read endless articles about tense vaginal muscles and physical therapies such as dilators and even botox therapy. Within 20 minutes of starting the Thrive Programme I learnt vaginismus is really a psychological issue and a problem with unhelpful thoughts about processing. The best part is this means it’s so treatable with great results from simple techniques and guidance from the Thrive Programme. As well as benefiting personally, I am thrilled I have this resource to direct my own patients to.
What advice would you give to vaginismus sufferers who are currently going through the programme, to make it as successful as possible.
Slow and steady wins the race and just keep going. Everyone is very busy but the exercises can be built into daily life quite easily and become routine quickly. I found using even 5 minutes coffee breaks or my shower in the morning as opportunities to go over what I had learnt and to think about things was really helpful. You don’t need to spend hours doing the exercises but regularly effort is key i think. Similarly doing the dilator exercises, they were daunting at first and I felt I needed a whole free evening to even attempt them. I quickly realised 5-10minutes a day was enough time and having small, regular successes was really beneficial.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am so grateful to The Thrive Programme and to Cara Ostryn for guiding me through this process. It is incredible work you do and I am so glad I did this. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!