Vagina physical therapy. What a concept. And what physical therapist really wants to specialize in that? Technically, it’s more of a specialty in pelvic floor pain problems. So it’s not really JUST vagina physical therapy. In my consultation appointment my PT (who owns the place I might add which made me feel even more in capable hands) talked about how she got into helping women with vaginismus. She started out as a PT to female athletes. Spending so much time treating women means you hear a little bit of everything. She was treating gymnasts and competitive swimmers (among other athletes) that could not use tampons. Imagine being a gymnast in those tight outfits with a big bulky pad on! They were all going to Indianapolis for treatment so she decided to job shadow to find out what the treatment was all about. This led to a fellowship and a new passion to help women overcome these issues.
Also during my consultation I got a great anatomy lesson, complete with a visual aid – a sculpture of the pelvic floor. There are 3 layers of muscles in the vagina. THREE! The point of the physical therapy is to retrain the muscles to stop spasming when something is inserted. 3 sets of muscle to retrain. Oh yeah, this will be fun. *note the sarcasm*
Here is the point where I might lose some of you- we’re going to talk about what is exactly involved in physical therapy for vaginismus. Just 3 days after my consultation was my first actual PT appointment – remember -she likes to hit the ground running. I was going to have to go alone since my partner (her name is Dawn by the way and I should just use her name from now on) had to work. That was a little scary for me, although I did feel very comfortable with my PT. Imagine my relief when I pull into the parking lot and Dawn’s truck is there. She had taken off work to come to my appointment which made my heart happy. :) The physical therapy building is set up with a few private rooms and then a small gym for the regular physical therapy. I was put in a room at the back of the building and given my instructions - set out my dilators from my kit that I had (remember the plastic pointy things I talked about before?), undress from the waist down, lie on the table and cover up with a sheet. When the PT came back in, she shut off the overhead light and the room was just lit by a lamp in the corner. There were no stirrups on the table so it was definitely not a ‘clinical’ feel in the room. This helped – a little. Dawn sat in a chair up by my head to hold my hand. *awww* :) It turns out that the smallest size dilator in my kit was really too big to start out with, so we ended up purchasing one from the set that the PT has there. The first dilator was about as thick as a pinky finger. So she puts some lube on it and tells me she will count down from 3 before touching me with it. 3, 2, 1, touch, *flinch*. Yeah, I’m supposed to try not to flinch. YOU tell my muscles that! 2nd try I did not flinch (yay for me!) and she was able to slowly insert the dilator a couple of inches. She brought it up to show me how much had been inserted and I said, ‘Yay! Do I get an A?’ To which she replied, ‘oh, we’re not done yet’. Damn. The whole session was about me learning to breathe through the insertion as that will relax my muscles. Breathing big yawning breaths helps the muscles to relax and allow the dilator to go in. She was able to insert the dilator all the way this first session with no pain! This was huge for me considering my problems in the past with anything being inserted. I aced my first PT session! Just 15 more to go! And the smile fades.