The diagnosis that changed my life
This story doesn't have anything to do with eating disorders, but it definitely had something to do with chronic pain, chronic illness and body image.
First of all: I've been doubting if I should share this info with the world for about a million times. I have serious heart palpitations right now. I can't believe I'm writing this post.....but I need to get it off my chest.
Especially since I know there are lots of women struggling with the same issue, I couldn't keep this inside. It's nothing to be ashamed for, so let's do this.
Let's backtrack a little bit. I've been struggling with anorexia from age 16, got sick with lyme at age 21 and between the age of 16-25 I've been in and out of eating disorder clinics, lyme clinics, hospitals, you name it. Fun times. During those years I never had the chance to go out, party, make new friends, finish my educations (some I still did finish) and be sexually active. I've started getting my period when I was nearly 10 years old, but for some strange reason I couldn't get a tampon in. I tried everything, but I just couldn't. The pain was way too intense and my body wasn't having it. Every visit to the gynaecologist was a living hell. They always did the "cotton swab test" to see if I had this thing called "vaginismus" and guess what: they always reported back "yup, clear case of vaginismus." When a woman has vaginismus, her vagina's muscles squeeze or spasm when something is entering it, like a tampon or a penis. It can be painful or excruciating.
I was devastated. Of course I had anorexia, Lyme AND vaginismus. Could something just work normally in my body? Cue the eye roll.
If you follow me on social media, you must have seen that I dated a lot. But I pushed guys away all the time, because I knew sex was going to painful for me and I felt especially dating in the city meant having sex within the first 3 dates. So usually I stopped seeing anyone after two dates, just to prevent having sex. Even though I wanted to have sex so badly.
I struggled mentally like no one else, because my gut feeling kept telling there was something else going on. But what in the world was it? I'm not a doctor.
My last date was with my current boyfriend and I didn't feel rushed whatsoever. It was such a sigh of relief. He's from a small town, so I think there's something about dating in the city that makes sex so meaningless, quick and casual.
On the second date I told him (after he guessed it himself and asked me straight forward) that I was a virgin. I felt a little embarrassed to be 28 and still a virgin, but you know.... life had other plans in store for me.
I didn't want to tell him about the vaginismus part yet, because I knew in my heart there was something else going on. This wasn't my truth. I could feel it.
After a consult with a sexologist she recommended me going to a "vulva poli". Which basically means a specialized gynaecologist.
I've never had that recommendation before, so I went.
This where the magic happened. This gynaecologists was the sweetest, patient, most amazing guy ever and he took the time to examine me and came down to a miraculous conclusion.
My hymen was completely closed, except for two tiny openings, which meant I could get my period, but putting something in my vagina was just not an option.
This was the reason why I couldn't put in a tampon, let alone have sex.
To make a long story short: I had surgery (it was a tiny procedure) to remove part of the hymen and make one bigger opening, just like any women has. I now have a "normal" vagina. LOL.
It's now about 1,5 months later, I'm fully recovered and I can have painless sex and use tampons!
Sidenote: I went to a pelvic floor fysio that does hands on work (like she literally puts a finger in your vagina) a few weeks after my surgery. This has been crucial for my recovery, because I still have a little bit of tension in my pelvic floor from all those years of clenching from pain.
I went home with a dilator set to stretch and I still have to massage my pelvic floor muscles and use the dilators out of precaution for a while. I recommend every women who has painful sex to go to a pelvic floor fysio that does hands on work. (I went to a bunch of bad ones before who only did breathing exercises with me. Seriously)
But guys.....OH. MY. GOD. I feel like a brand new person and I can't stop smiling. Jeez Louis. How can medical trained people get it so wrong?! I went to 5 different gynaecologists and they all told me the same.
Even my lyme doctor told me a lot of people with Lyme have vaginismus, so I thought: here we go again.....
This just goes to show that you always have to trust your gut feeling and NEVER stop searching if something doesn't feel right.
So many doctors and specialist mess up and sometimes I still wake up in a nightmare of turning 40, never had sex and being miserable because "doctors" told me I had vaginismus.
I owe this doctor my life. Seriously.
I wish I read a blogpost or an article like this when I was struggling, because I could've been properly diagnosed when I was a teenager! So that's why I'm writing this for my fellow women out there.
I hope you are all doing well and thank you for letting me share my story. If you want any more info: email me or share this post with anyone who's dealing with something similar.