A Cooch Story (Warning: TMI)
I meant to wait a while before I posted this one, but I had an awful break down last night and it needed to come out. Before I jump into it, please note that this is explicit and a very personal, sensitive topic. Proceed with caution.
Here we go…
Months ago, almost a year at this point, I started to feel pain during sex. Now before you say anything, this was way different than the deep, cramping pain endometriosis can cause. I’ve felt that before, trust. This pain had less to do with what was happening inside of me, and more to do with the outer vulva and vaginal opening.
A lot more.
It started as a slight burning upon penetration during sex and stinging afterward that I attributed, like any experienced woman, to an underlying yeast or BV infection lurking and waiting to rear its ugly head. Assuming that’s what it was, I went to the nearest drug store and bought a yeast infection killer starter pack. (read: OTC terconazole cream). I was so proud that I nipped it in the bud before it became a full-fledged monster.
But I completed it and it happened again….ok strange. Maybe I’m still healing from the infection, no big! But it happened again and then the time after that…maybe I’ll just go to the GYN and get a check-up, it was time to get one anyway. I made an appointment, went and got a clean bill of health. Why is this still happening?
I kept coming up with random excuses like “maybe I wasn’t turned on enough”, “not enough foreplay” or “I have been dehydrated lately” but no matter how excited I was, it still burned and stung…plus I kept getting random yeast infections, and UTIs. The next phase of thinking was maybe we should focus on being extra clean. The new rule was we will shower before and after being intimate, but it kept happening.
What is wrong with me?
It was still uncomfortable, and getting worse over time. Maybe I need to admit that I have a moisture problem. That’s ok, women’s bodies are complicated, and we go through phases. I can handle this. But every time I mention it to my GYN they tell me to use lube even though I tell them we use lube. This isn’t in my head
…ok, I have all sorts of issues everywhere else, so maybe I just have some dryness. We’ll just use lube! How fun! They have all sorts now that warm up or cool down or taste good or tingle or glow in the dark or sparkle…but that isn’t working either. Let’s try different bases! There’s silicone or water or hybrid! Maybe that brand is no good? Let’s try this new one. A couple of the lubes help but this painful stretching is getting worse…what’s wrong with me?? It has to be the progesterone mini pill then,
Because I moved to Philly amidst this mess, I changed GYN’s (Thank God). My new GYN is no nonsense and he came recommended to me by a great source so I know he is good. My initial appointment had to do with my endometriosis (which I discuss in another post) and he proved his competence
aren’t normal. I have vaginal atrophy.
He doesn’t know why. The cells aren’t growing
He gave me the “doctors equivalent” of a pat on the shoulder…I don’t fault him for that. He’s an older man with the kind of disposition that, if you had me take a guess, I’d say with confidence that he didn’t cry at his own mothers funeral. I’m ok with THAT, but…
This news has torn a hole
How can it be that I can’t even enjoy the bed I’ve made with the love of my life? I can’t even please myself…because at this point even the skin around my “happy button” would burn with touch. Me, a woman
The GYN gave me Estrace cream which I think he did in pity because
After starting Estradiol
I started the cream 5 weeks ago. I count the weeks closely because the
I also spoke with my rheumy and she didn’t know why this was happening either. Her best guess was Sjogren’s. So great, potentially yet another thing to add to the list of crap I have.
I’ve been doing endless research on this just like everything else I have and found this “weed lube” about 5 days ago and it had such amazing reviews! It’s been reviewed to hell and back as this wonder lube and everyone says that it helps with painful penetration because it relaxes the muscles, increases natural lubrication production and intensifies orgasms. Hoooly crap, where do I throw my money (that I don’t have)?!?
Can this save the day?
I bought it,
So fast forward to when he gets home. We shower together, get nice and clean and comfortable and meanwhile I’m trying so hard to not think about how the little bottle in the next room is going to change my life!
We are both hungry and decide to try the lube and give it some time to work (it says to give it about 15-20 minutes) while we quickly eat dinner. (Mistake #1 we should have focused on foreplay and enjoying the nice tingling the Foria gave me) We talked a little bit and after eating went into the room. We started to mess around and without much foreplay, he was like “let’s go for it” (Mistake #2.) I agree and assume the position but it’s become quite clear to me in that moment that my body is not quite ready. I grab some extra lube and try anyway. (Mistake #3.) I realize after a moment that this is just not going to happen without some major pain and we stopped.
We recognized we hadn’t given her (my cooch) and the Foria enough time and so I say “we are rushing this” and assume we can try taking a step back but he seems distant and falls silent. I get nervous and start talking about this weird sex scene in a movie I had seen the day before because as weird as it was, I enjoyed it and thought maybe he’d take it and run with it…at this point he tells me he doesn’t know what to do… and there went the moment before it even started.
and there it goes
I lay there and all of the hopeless, confused, and angry emotions I’ve ever had about my body came crashing in all at once, drowning me in this noxious slick oil. I couldn’t see or hear anything outside of my head. All I could think about was “this woman” with all her issues with all her problems and now her useless, broken, and withering body was destroying one of the greatest things she has ever obtained.
He spoke to me with kind words, affirmations, suggestions, and plans but his words were so distant sounding and echoed in the one inch of space that lay between us. Despair doesn’t begin to describe it. I thought of how much I wanted to rip myself into shreds and throw away the pieces. I couldn’t imagine I’d ever royally fuck everything over so badly. I went out so far over the edge that I could see oblivion.
He stayed with me and again spoke kind words and held me tightly as I struggled to keep myself from raging and destroying every intact thing I could get within my hands reach. I wanted to rip my skin off and pull my hair out. I felt shame at how excited I was to try this new fucking lube and anger at how much it cost me because I bought it with money I shouldn’t have spent. Disappointment took over. Then Anger. How could my broken, awful, defunct body have the nerve to keep me from feeling pleasure, from being intimate with my life partner.
Even now I’m reduced to tears while writing this.
I cried as much as I could, blew my nose and cried some more. At some point I recognized the need to get out of my head so that I didn’t actually end up hurting myself. I grabbed my phone, sat down on the couch in the dark dining room and browsed IG for the most mind-numbing crap I could find. He followed me, turned the light on, and sat with me.
I felt so numb and useless that I didn’t even want to be touched or held. I didn’t deserve it. I even told him as much but he held me anyway. After an hour or so of IG randomness, I finally grew tired, of it all.
There is always hope.
For anyone dealing with vaginal atrophy, please let me know if you have any advice. I’ve just started this journey and I’m already a disaster. I won’t sit here and pretend I got my shit together because I don’t, but I want to. I need to pull it together for me and for my hubby and for anyone else who needs a strong shoulder to lean on.
I’ve started taking vitamin D supplements and ordered vitamin E and Omega fatty acids. They should be on their way to me and I pray to the universe that they work. But trust I’ve learned my lesson about being too optimistic.
I will keep everyone posted as to how the vitamins and supplements help, if they do and if I find anything else that helps. I’m also changing my diet a little to eat fewer carbs. Maybe losing weight will help. We are also definitely going to give the Foria another shot. Even though we didn’t use it the way I think we should have, I still felt like it could definitely help.
To you, reader, in case you need to hear it, as we living with autoimmune diseases (and any other health/mental health issues) often do, I love you with all I am and all I’ll ever be. Don’t despair, things can always get better.
Until next time,