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.
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 treatments such as topical lidocaine or compounded creams may help to ease the pain associated with vaginismus.
During this treatment, a physical therapist will teach individuals how to relax their pelvic floor muscles.
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 (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.
Working with a sex therapist may help some people and couples rediscover pleasure in their sexual relationships.
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At Tideline, our team of skilled providers is dedicated to providing each of our patients with excellent care. For more information regarding vaginismus and your treatment options, contact Tideline Center for Health & Aesthetics today to schedule an appointment.