What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is the involuntary tensing or contracting of the muscles around the vagina. These spasms occur when something attempts to penetrate the vagina such as a tampon, finger, penis, or medical instrument and can be mildly uncomfortable or very painful.

The symptoms of vaginismus may begin when an individual has sex for the first time, the first time a person tries to insert a tampon, or during a pelvic exam at a doctor’s office. Some people may also develop this condition later on in life and can occur after years of having no problems.

Common symptoms of vaginismus include:

  • Pain or discomfort during vaginal penetration
  • Painful intercourse
  • Inability to have a pelvic exam or sex due to vaginal muscle spasms or pain

There are a number of factors that may contribute to vaginismus, including anxiety disorders, prior surgery, childbirth injuries like vaginal tears, or negative feelings about sex.

Vaginismus Treatment Options

The goal of vaginismus treatment is to reduce the reflex of the muscles that cause them to tense up. Treatments may also address fears or anxieties that may lead to vaginismus.

Topical Therapy

Topical treatments such as topical lidocaine or compounded creams may help to ease the pain associated with vaginismus.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

During this treatment, a physical therapist will teach individuals how to relax their pelvic floor muscles.

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Vaginal Dilator Therapy

Vaginal dilators are oblong devices that are available in various sizes. Their purpose is to stretch the vagina. Those with vaginismus can use these tools to become less sensitive to vaginal penetration.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help individuals to understand how their thoughts affect their behaviors and emotions. It can be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which may lead to vaginismus.

Sex Therapy

Working with a sex therapist may help some people and couples rediscover pleasure in their sexual relationships.


Click a condition below to learn more about our recommended treatment options.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be a painful or uncomfortable symptom that has many possible causes. It is a common symptom of menopause, due to a drop in estrogen levels reducing the amount of moisture in the vagina.


Vaginismus (Muscle Spasms)

Vaginismus occurs when the vaginal muscles spasm or squeeze when something is entering it. These contractions can prevent sexual intercourse or make it a painful experience.


Vulvodynia (Vulvar Pain)

Vulvodynia is chronic pain around the opening of the vagina that lasts for three months or more. There is often no identifiable cause, and symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable.


Pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to correctly relax and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to complications such as a frequent need to use the bathroom, constipation, pain in the lower pack or genitals, and more.


Clitoral pain

Clitoral pain causes women to experience a painful sensation in the clitoris. It can range from mild to severe and may be caused by a number of factors.



Vaginal Dryness

Vaginismus (Muscle Spasms)

Vulvodynia (Vulvar Pain)

Pelvic floor dysfunction

Clitoral pain

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