What is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is the body's natural response to the fear of vaginal penetration in any form. When something enters the vagina, such as a tampon or a penis, it causes the muscles to constrict or spasm. This can be mildly or severely painful. Muscles tense on their own, and women have no control over this.
Vaginismus is divided into two types;
Primary Vaginismus – this occurs when a female experiences pain whenever she attempts to achieve a specific penetration, such as penetrative sex or any other insertion.
Secondary Vaginismus – occurs when vaginal penetration was once painless but is now impossible owing to trauma, menopause, or gynecologic surgery.
Causes Of Vaginismus
The causes of vaginismus aren’t very clear however a few situations have been linked to causing vaginismus. These are:
- 1. Painful medical condition
- 2. Unpleasant first sexual encounter
- 3. Personal fear that the vagina is tiny
- 4. Belief of sex being wrong
- 5. Unpleasant medical examinations
In some cases, there are no direct causes of vaginismus so it is advised that you visit a doctor for physical examination, who would also ask about medical and sexual history.
Symptoms Of Vaginismus
Dyspareunia is a symptom of vaginismus that is sometimes mistaken for vaginismus. Dyspareunia, or painful sex, can develop on its own as a result of cysts or disease. This pain normally occurs solely during penetration and subsides following withdrawal. It's vital to remember that Dyspareunia is not the same as vaginismus.
There are other symptoms such as:
- 1. Discomfort during any form of insertion, either during a pelvic exam or the insertion of a tampon
- 2. Loss of sexual desire
- 3. Fear of pain or sex
4. Also, women who have vaginismus have described the feeling of penetration as a burning or stinging pain.
DIAGNOSIS OF VAGINISMUS
A medical practitioner can diagnose vaginismus. The doctor would inquire about your symptoms, as well as your medical and sexual history. After providing the necessary information, a pelvic exam would be performed to rule out any other health issues that could be causing the pain.
Most women are uncomfortable discussing sensitive topics with a male doctor, so it's fine to request a female doctor. If you don't feel safe, bring along someone you can rely on for assistance.
Normally, your doctor will perform a quick assessment and do their best to guide you through the necessary steps. If vaginismus is diagnosed, you may be referred to a sex therapist in addition to other forms of treatment.
Treatment Of Vaginismus
Vaginismus is a treatable situation that involves education, counseling, and exercises to gradually get you used to penetration.
The treatment options are;
- 1. Pelvic floor exercises are aimed at gaining control of the vaginal muscles.
- 2. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, and gentle breathing in order to relax the vaginal muscles.
- 3. Vaginal trainers which look like tampons to help one gradually get used to inserting something into the vagina
- 4. Psychosexual therapy aims at helping one understand their body and what sex entails.
- 5. Exercises that help with relaxation during sex and increase sexual drive.
The majority of therapies are carried out with the assistance of a sex therapist. To ensure efficacy, it is usually necessary to execute particular exercises at home. The therapies are known to be successful, with benefits seen in as little as a few weeks.
You can still enjoy sex and have orgasms if you have vaginismus. If you have vaginismus, you might delight yourself by experimenting with various forms of sex, such as oral sex. If you're in a relationship or married, it is critical to let your spouse know what you're going through so that you can both support each other. Do not be embarrassed or afraid of your condition; get therapy and learn more about your body and what interests you.