If you suffer from painful sexual intercourse, or if penetration is not possible, you may be suffering from vaginismus.
This condition is not very common among women; however, it can severely affect their sex lives.
Here is some information on this condition, including symptoms and possible treatments.
Symptoms of Vaginismus
There are two main symptoms of vaginismus. One is that vaginal penetration during sexual intercourse is very difficult or even impossible. The second symptom is pain during intercourse.[dyspareunia]
In most cases, the pain is bad enough that sexual intercourse is avoided. The pain is a burning, stinging, or stretching feeling that gets worse when more penetration is attempted.
What Causes Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is a contracting of the muscles in the vagina that makes intercourse painful or completely impossible. It is an involuntary contraction and not something that the patient can control.
While the exact cause is not known, this condition is a sexual dysfunction. It may be caused by sexual trauma or a discomfort with intercourse in the past. Many times, women suffer from this for years before they seek treatment.
How Is Vaginismus Diagnosed?
A pelvic exam is usually all that is required to diagnose vaginismus. In addition, a history of painful intercourse is a good indicator. It’s imperative that a detailed sexual history be taken.
This will help the physician to determine if there needs to be further testing. However, it’s important to note that an exam must be used to rule out another condition.
Is There a Treatment for Vaginismus?
Yes, there are treatment options. Most physicians will recommend extensive therapy, including, but not limited to counseling, education, and behavioral exercises. Some of the exercises include Kegel exercises. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Under the direction of specialized health care provided, such as a sex therapist, vaginal dilation exercises may be recommended. Plastic dilators are used to reduce the symptoms of vaginismus. This type of therapy really should involve the partner. This may result in more intimate contact, eventually resulting in sexual intercourse.
Educational information should be provided to the patient. Physiology, sexual anatomy, and how the body responds to sex should be included, as well as some of the common myths about sex. Couples counseling may also be recommended if the partner is willing.
With the right combination of therapies, the success rate for treating vaginismus is usually very high. Much of the success rate will depend upon how willing the patient and their partner are to completing the therapy and treatments. It may take several months to complete the treatment programs.
Forget the Guilt: Vaginismus Is Not Your Fault
Vaginismus is a very real sexual dysfunction, but it should be noted that it’s not the woman’s fault. The patient cannot control the contraction of the muscles that are causing intercourse to be painful or impossible.
Vaginismus is treatable, but treatment should be administered by someone familiar with the condition. It’s also best if treatment occurs with a partner present, as this can help relieve some of the anxiety for the patient.