Hello, fellow people with vaginas and people without, my name is Lara, and for basically my entire adult life I've had Vagina Problems™.
To get not so specific, MY VAGINA HURTS A LOT. In fact, it hurts me so much that vaginal intercourse has never been possible for me.
So when I began reading about Botox as a treatment for my conditions, I was ready as hell to try it. Because, quite frankly, I would try just about anything to get rid of my pain.
I tried for several months to find an OB-GYN who could perform the procedure for me, but even in Los Angeles, I had basically no luck. That's because Botox is not yet FDA-approved to treat vaginal issues, despite several studies currently being conducted on its effects on vaginal and pelvic floor pain.
At The Roxbury Institute, I worked with Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a board-certified plastic surgeon, and Dr. Mickey Karram, renowned urogynecologist and pelvic surgeon.
Then all of a sudden...it was time to get injected. Going into the procedure, I was so nervous. I mean, who wouldn't be? I was about to get very long needles stuck into my very sensitive vaginal area.
The whole thing took about 10 minutes. It hurt, pretty badly, but I was able to do it by using laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and reminding myself that it would be so worth it in the end.
It took me two years of physical therapy to get to a medium-sized dilator. But when I used it post-Botox, it went right in and I didn’t even freaking feel it. I was so overcome with emotion at that time that I just started bawling. They were definitely happy tears.
The next test was going to physical therapy — normally a place of extreme dread. But with Botox, physical therapy was a totally different experience. I was able to handle most of the exercises with little discomfort. And while it wasn't 100% pain-free — I'm not sure it ever will be — it was such an improvement I almost couldn't believe it.
As far as sexual intercourse goes — well, it still isn't that easy. Maybe it won't be for a while. But the progress I have already made with Botox and physical therapy makes me wonder if that day is as far away as I think.
Plus, dealing with these conditions for the past several years has taught me that there are many ways to be intimate that do not include actual penetration.
At the end of the day — getting Botox injected into my vagina truly changed my life. But it was also a reminder of just how much farther we still have to go.
If you are like me and live with Vagina Problems™, there are several clinical trials currently recruiting, as well as one specifically recruiting for women with endometriosis. Or, if you live in Southern California, you can contact The Roxbury Institute and work with the doctors I worked with!
Botox injections were provided to BuzzFeed free of charge; they normally cost around $300-$500 per injection.