Botox set to enhance women’s sex lives

Botulinum toxin A, also known as BTXA, also known to its many proponents and recipients as Botox, has long been employed as a treatment for smoothing out wrinkles in the skin above the neck, basically by allowing the muscles to relax.  Women especially have been requesting and receiving Botox treatments as part of a facial rejuvenation for many years.  Now it appears that the drug may be useful for other problems as well.

In August of 2010, Dr. Peter T. Pacik, a plastic surgeon practicing in New Hampshire, got FDA permission to conduct a controlled study of the effects of Botox on women suffering from vaginismus, which is a condition that causes pain during sexual intercourse.  It involves involuntary, uncontrolled spasms in the muscles surrounding the vagina that result in severe pain when the vagina is penetrated, often even at the thought of penetration.

At this point, the cause of this condition is still unclear, but it is usually associated with the woman’s fear of intercourse, for reasons ranging from physical abuse during childhood to ingrained social restrictions.  In many cases it is so severe that the woman is unable to have intercourse at all.   In the past, vaginismus has not even been acknowledged as a specific condition, and many women have spent years in therapy of one kind or another with no results.

The study conducted by Dr. Pacik involved the injection of 150 units of Botox along with a long-acting anaesthetic directly into the area of spasming muscles, and progressive dilation, all while the patient was under general anaesthesia.  The procedure was followed by counselling over the next three days, and in almost all cases the patient was able to have pain-free intercourse within two to six weeks.  Dr. Pacik reports that in 90% of cases, the treatment was required only once to affect a permanent cure.