C.P. Age 30 – Sydney
As a naive 22 year old my first attempt at sexual intercourse with my husband left me curled up in excruciating pain, trying to rationalise it to lack of experience and hoping that things would improve. However, things got worse – my honeymoon is a memory characterised by pain masked with superficial positivity. I spent hours doubled up with abdominal pain, unable to even open my bowels and struggled to find any desire with my husband. I felt like my body had “shut down” and the constant burning and aching began to interfere with every aspect of life.
I tried to find help from numerous professionals in that first year of marriage, including a number of GP’s who diagnosed vaginismus, gynaecologists who screened me repeatedly for STD’s and suggested that I might be allergic to my husband, and counsellors who took me through various psychological techniques to get over some childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t find any relief to the physical pain, and our relationship went through massive lows resulting in blow-ups where I would resolve to make a bigger effort towards our love life and pleasing my partner. At times my husband felt like it was all his fault, that he wasn’t able to please me and that I wasn’t attracted to him – which I could understand as I was not engaging in normal sexual activity unless I made a conscious effort to and even then was not able to be aroused. Sometimes we sadly joked that we had a better love life before we were married and attempted intercourse – the pleasure of slowly removing boundaries prior to our wedding night did not initiate any pain and was the only time in my life that I had felt real sexual desire.
Years passed, and the responses from various specialists I visited were more discouraging than helpful, resulting in avoidance and trying to ignore the problem. It was a miracle that I feel pregnant a number of years after being married, and gave birth to a beautiful baby. However the birth was instrumental and physically traumatic leaving significant scarring and bladder pain. Painful intercourse worsened after this experience, and my GP just advised me to tell my husband to “stay away” for at least a year. Some time later I shared what was going on with a girlfriend who insisted that I see another gynaecologist to try to get it resolved. He suspected endometriosis and performed a laparoscopy and removed adhesions, which provided some relief to the deeper pelvic pain.
However the external burning, bladder pain and lack of arousal continued, and again it felt almost miraculous that I fell pregnant with my second child. I gave birth to her without interventions but found the final part of the labour excruciating as I struggled to relax my pelvic floor and allow her to come out. I had a perineal tear that was poorly managed, and the dyspareunia continued even worse than it had been before. Finally I plucked up the courage to mention it to another GP, who suggested sex therapy and a visit to another gynaecologist. This gynaecologist prescribed and antidepressant, steroid cream and physiotherapy. As I left the office I was beside myself, I did not understand the therapy she had prescribed and felt degraded and misunderstood, so went back to the GP who referred me to yet another gynaecologist. I was too traumatised by these events to proceed with the physiotherapy, but decided to try the antidepressant which was a disaster – I walked around like a Zombie for the short time I took it. I had all but given up on ever finding a solution and felt myself becoming depressed and overly focused on the issue. One last-ditch attempt to find answers resulted in coming across Marek Jantos’ website – which was the beginning of my journey to both physical and psychological healing.
I read through some testimonials and was flooded with tears of relief that there were other women with symptoms and experiences similar to mine. I sent him an email hoping for a response, which was received within just a few days. I couldn’t believe that there was a real person at the other end – and was willing to pay whatever it cost to see him and even travel to the other side of the world if necessary.
The treatment commenced with a thorough explanation and introduction to treatment, and I was surprised and relieved that Marek was more interested in the fact that I had found using tampons painful as a teenager than about asking details of the childhood sexual abuse. It was so nice to have him provide a physical explanation rather than a psychological classification that had in the past made me feel that I was somehow to blame. I was also surprised at the level of ease I had discussing such personal issues with him, as in the past I had the sense that the doctors and therapists I had spoken to appeared uncomfortable and did not really want to address the issues which made me feel even worse.
As treatment progressed, I began to see significant results, and was excited to see a reduction in overall pain levels, particularly the bladder pain and urethral sensitivity. Marek made me understand that resolving this problem required a holistic approach, including reducing stress levels and changing the way I naturally responded to stress. At one point in time I set an alarm on my phone that alerted me every few minutes to do a muscle scan to remind me to stop bracing the pelvic floor, which was one of the most powerful exercises in retraining my tension patterns.
Towards the end of my treatment I had a week of intensive therapy in Adelaide, and on conclusion I estimated that the pain was was 95% improved, and could achieve penetration without discomfort. A small amount of focal point pain remains, but I am so positive with my progress thus far I am sure it will resolve with some more time and patience. I am just so grateful for Marek’s dedication to this poorly understood area of female health and his ever kind, professional approach. I hope that his approach will become more widely accepted and well known, so that many more women can achieve the phenomenal relief that I have found and avoid the amount of searching and trauma that misdiagnosis and mismanagement causes.