Have you heard of “vaginismus”? A Saudi doctor helps girls overcome their “fear”

This article is the result of a training provided by the “Hayaha” project to a group of female content makers and journalists on the “Bilqis for Her” platform, in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This article was implemented by Noura Al-Qarini.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (CNN) — A girl with a demon inside, who gave her the strength to refuse any sexual relationship with her husband, described her condition as “enviable”, and then turned to witches and charlatans, or at other times to psychiatrists.

This is Sumaya’s story. A woman on the verge of thirty years, spent five years of marriage without children or a full sexual relationship, and spent half of that period in pain, despair and ignorance of what exactly she suffers from. Somaya went to senior consultants and doctors in obstetrics and gynecology, and she was not diagnosed with an organic disease. She was referred to a psychiatrist who only made matters worse with psychotropic drug treatment.

Sumaya describes her experience as “hell”, until she saw a girl on social media sharing her experience with a Saudi doctor called Tarfa Al-Muammar, in which she talks about a “magic cure” for the unknown disease that many girls suffer from, as she described it.

Sumaya and other girls’ condition is called “vaginismus,” and it affects women as a result of fear of severe pain and expected bleeding at the first sexual intercourse, which leads to involuntary spasm of the pelvic muscles and the entrance to the vagina, and in some cases, severe involuntary closing of the thighs as a means of self-protection. After that, the woman loses control despite her desire to complete the marital relationship properly.

Al-Muammar began in the nineties of the last century by making her way in research, trying to find an explanation and studying these cases.

I started studying these cases from Canada in 1994, in cooperation with a Canadian colleague. Only then, the two doctors discovered the scientific name for this disease, “involuntary vaginismus”.

During our conversation with Al-Muammar, she described her feeling at the time, as if she possessed a “precious gem”. She added, “After my colleague and I got to know the description and treatment of this condition, I returned to my country and decided to help girls who do not know about this disease,” noting that “despite the wide technological development and openness of minds, this disease is still vague and unknown to many.”

Al-Muammar explained: “One of the main reasons for fear of completing a marital relationship is the misconceptions about the reproductive system and its normal function during the marital relationship, pregnancy and childbirth. Unfortunately, there is a lot of intimidation and not education in our societies, especially conservative societies. There are also ideas It is wrong related to the fact that the sexual relationship is very painful on the wedding night for the girl, in addition to its illogical connection to the honor of the family.

Al-Muammar said that “the zakat on knowledge is published, and sexual education is not a luxury or a secondary issue, but a scientific and realistic necessity,” stressing that societies need to educate boys and girls with a correct sexual culture, so that they do not form false and unhealthy concepts that accumulate in the subconscious mind.

Despite the full knowledge of the reproductive system among many female doctors and nurses in Saudi society, for example, Al-Muammar pointed out that they are still victims of misconceptions about sexual relations.

Al-Muammar stated that these cases can decrease when awareness of sexual culture and healthy marital relationship is raised at an early age until the time of marriage.

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