A resilient couple from North London has finally succeeded in their pursuit of parenthood, overcoming the challenges posed by Maya’s* mild to moderate vaginismus.
But, what exactly is vaginismus?
What Is the Meaning of Vaginismus? All You Need To Know
Vaginismus is a form of sexual dysfunction that causes the muscles in the vaginal area to contract involuntarily during sexual intercourse. This can make it challenging for the penis to enter the vagina, leading to discomfort during sex, and potentially make it more difficult to conceive.
To better understand this female fertility condition, vaginismus is further categorized into:
- Primary vaginismus: You’ve struggled with the condition your whole life even before you had sex for the first time.
- Secondary vaginismus: You’ve previously never had a problem with vaginal penetration, but at some point in time, developed this condition.
As a result of vaginismus, the affected individual often struggle on the pyschological front. They usually experience negative emotions such as:
For people who are trying to get pregnant, their mental and emotional burdens are more intense as they now face the added pressure of making vaginal penetration work so that they can reach their fertility goals.
Unsurprisingly, this often leads to more frustration, anger, pain, worry, and anxiety that may backfire on your sexual attempts for procreation.
But with the right mindset and at-home insemination tools, dreams that once seemed impossible can ultimately be realized. For Maya and her husband, it took them eight tries with the twoplus Applicator Extra before they became pregnant.
Keep reading to find out how they did it!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended as medical advice.
*Name was changed to protect privacy.
Maya Revealed the Key to Overcoming Vaginismus When Trying To Get Pregnant
Interview responses were edited for clarity.
Q: Hi, Maya! Tell us a bit about yourself! How old are you and your partner, and what are your ethnicities? Where do you live in the U.K.?
A: I am 35, and my husband is 36. We live in North London.
Q: Congratulations on getting pregnant with the twoplus Applicator Extra! Is this your first successful pregnancy?
A: Thank you! Yes — it’s our first pregnancy, and very much still sinking in :)
Q: Why did you start trying for a baby? How long have you been trying to conceive?
A: We weren't sure if we wanted children — we have three dogs, and they are our whole world.
Initially, we went down the adoption route, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. So, after a short break to process it all, we decided to try to conceive about three months ago.
Q: What were the top 3 questions you had early on in your conception journey?
A: 1) If our age would be a barrier, 2) how long would it take (I’m not very patient), and 3) whether my vaginismus would prevent us from conceiving a baby.
The twoplus Tip: Not sure if your age would be a barrier to your conception efforts? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting Pregnant.
Q: When you and your husband started conceiving in your mid-30s, why did you think age would be a barrier?
A: I think mainly because of what we’d read online, our society’s general misconceptions/pressures and because we hadn’t gone for any fertility tests.
So we had no clear picture of our fertility.
The twoplus Tip: Get your fertility health checked so you’re in the know when trying for a baby. Learn the difference between an obstetrician and a gynaecologist so you’re in good hands for your conception needs.
Q: How did you find out you had vaginismus? Was it mild, moderate, or severe?
A: When I started having penetrative sex. It is mild to moderate, and I haven’t been able to overcome it over the years.
What Causes Vaginismus? No. 2 May Surprise You
At its core, vaginismus is “a conditioned response that results from associating sexual activity with pain and fear,” per an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Common causes of vaginismus generally include:
- Sexual abuse or any traumatic sexual experience, such as painful first-time sex
- Strict parental upbringing or cultural and religious influences that give rise to the belief that sex and masturbation are wrong
- Certain medical conditions like thrush, endometriosis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- The belief that your vagina is too small or your partner’s penis is too big
Do note that this list isn’t exhaustive as everyone’ experience with vaginismus is different.
Q: Could you share more about your fertility struggles as a couple before the pregnancy?
A: We are fortunate not to have [other] fertility struggles — the most significant obstacle was my vaginismus, which made TTC [trying to conceive] on demand almost impossible. That was the leading cause of stress and concern.
Q: Could you share more about how vaginismus made TTC on demand more challenging?
A: I can have penetrative sex, but it depends on how relaxed I am at the time, and it generally only works if it is spontaneous rather than planned.
TTC means having to adhere to a fixed period (and a very small window after the usual constraints of work etc), so the pressures of this meant that conceiving naturally was impossible*.
*A note from twoplus: If you’re wondering how to treat vaginismus, you may find the next section helpful.
How To Treat Vaginismus: Drugs & Surgery Aren’t Always the Answer
The good news is that you may not necessarily require drugs or invasive surgery to manage vaginismus.
Firstly, consult a licensed healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions that may be triggering painful penetration, such as an infection.
If there no medical conditions are at play, the treatment approach is usually centered on education about the vagina coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy.
Here are some common treatment methods that target vaginismus:
- Vagina education, including the use of lubricants and the importance of foreplay
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Pelvic floor control exercises
- Vaginal dilators
- Sex therapy for individuals and couples
Depending on your condition and the severity of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend a mix of the abovementioned methods for the best chance of success.
Q: How did you first find out about twoplus Fertility? E.g., Google, Instagram, recommendations from friends or family.
A: I researched online for products that could help me overcome my vaginismus while TTC. The twoplus [Applicator Extra] looked professional and science-backed, so I decided to try it.
Q: What else have you tried in your conception journey before using twoplus?
A: Nothing else.
Q: How often did you use the twoplus Applicator Extra before you got pregnant?
A: So the first two months, we only used it twice in the cycle, but in the third month, we used it four times on my most fertile days, and that was when we were successful!
The twoplus Tip: Discover seven different ways to track your ovulation so you can identify your most fertile days too.
Q: Was the Applicator Extra easy to use? Was it uncomfortable after inserting, and did you have any trouble using the fertility tool?
A: It was straightforward to use, but I don’t think I inserted it far enough in the first two months.
In the third month, I must have gotten the hang of it, and was much more relaxed as I managed to insert it very close to my cervix, and there was minimal leakage.
Q: Did you adopt any lifestyle changes to improve your odds of conceiving?
A: We’re both generally very healthy and have an active lifestyle. I’m vegan, so my diet typically consists of a lot of fruit and veg. I also increased my omega-3 and protein intake, cut out alcohol, and limited my caffeine intake to 2 cups a day.
The twoplus Tip: Check out what’s included in the Fertility Diet for Women to plan your upcoming meals while trying to conceive.
Q: Would you recommend the twoplus Applicator Extra to other people who may have difficulties with natural conception?
A: 100% yes!
Q: If you could go back to the beginning of your conception journey, what would you have done differently? Also, what would you suggest to other couples who are trying to get pregnant?
A: We had a relatively easy journey.
But I think I would have used the Applicator Extra several times in each cycle (4-5 times), and tried to get it as close to my cervix as possible.
Also, I tried to relax as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done!
Don’t Allow Vaginismus To Impede Your Path to Pregnancy
Don’t let vaginismus stop you from trying to conceive. Instead, seek help and explore home fertility tools to get closer to your pregnancy goals.
One such tool that can help is the twoplus Applicator Extra.
Many couples have successfully overcome their fertility obstacles and conceived a child with this self-insemination sperm syringe. So if you’re struggling with vaginismus, remember that with perseverance and the right fertility aids, you, too, can fulfill your lifelong dream of having a child!