Vaginismus is a condition in which involuntary muscle spasm interferes with vaginal intercourse or any other penetration of the vagina. A woman may experience it when doing a pelvic exam or inserting a tampon, a finger, or penis at the beginning of sex, making intercourse painful. Pain may vary from mild to severe. There is primary and secondary vaginismus based on contributing factors or how/when it develops. primary vaginismus – it is when you may not be aware of vaginismus until you attempt to have the first vaginal penetration. It can be the first attempt to have sex or to use a tampon and commonly affects teenagers and women in their early life when they exit the teen stage.
secondary vaginismus – it is when a woman had no issues with penetration before then suddenly develops vaginismus.
Signs and symptoms
Pain during vaginal penetration which can be sexual or otherwise
What causes vaginismus?
The exact cause is not yet established but vaginismus pain can worsen with certain existing issues that can contribute to it
What can contribute to vaginismus?
- Vaginal tears during childbirth
- History of rape or trauma
- prior surgery/medical factors
- fear of pain
- beliefs like “sex is sinful”
- urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
- bladder infections
- yeast infections
- vaginal inflammation
- please note the above mentioned are not necessarily the cause but can contribute to the pain
Signs of vaginismus
Painful intercourse or inability to have sex
inability to do pelvic exams
A pelvic exam is done and a numbing cream will be used to illuminate pain. This will assist in confirming it and to rule out other issues that may cause the pain.
Can vaginismus be treated?
There are several treatment methods that can be recommended and used i.e., Kegel exercises, vaginal therapy, behavioral therapy, lubrication and counseling. 1st vaginal therapy/insertion: different sizes of vaginal dilators are used to stretch the vagina the use of numbing creams before insertion is recommended. With the use of these objects, you will gradually get used to having something penetrating into your vagina.
2nd pelvic floor physical therapy/Kegel exercises: a physical therapist will help you with how to relax your pelvic floor muscles correctly.
3rd cognitive behavioral therapy/counseling: It is an effective treatment for making you understand how powerful your thoughts can affect your feelings and how you behave.
4th topical therapy/lubrication: using creams may assist with the pain.
5th sex therapy: a sex therapist will assist couple in how to find sexual pleasure
Treatment has proven to be successful with a certain amount of time. You only need to be patient as this can affect your mental state. It will also affect your sex life; your relationship and conceiving will be the next challenge should you wish to start a family. You can’t control it because whenever penetration is attempted the muscles will tighten up on their own so treatment will be your best option. Treatment will focus on managing your feelings around penetration and reducing the reflex of your muscles that causes them to tighten up. Sex is meant to be pleasurable not hurt.
**IT HURTS BUT IT DOESN’T NEED TO, YOUR VAGINA, YOUR BUSINESS**