- What is Vaginismus?:Vaginismus is when the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening involuntarily contract or spasm, making penetration of any kind painful, if not impossible.
- What are the Symptoms of Vaginismus?: Many women with vaginismus are unable to tolerate inserting a tampon, having a pelvic exam or having penetrative sex. Often women will describe attempts at penetrative sex as if their male partner is “hitting a wall.” While painful intercourse is the most common symptom of vaginismus, women might also experience urinary or GI symptoms if the other muscles in the pelvic floor are in spasm or are too tight.
- Who Gets Vaginismus?: Some women have lifelong vaginismus and remember having painful sex from the first time they attempted intercourse. Other women may develop vaginismus after years of pain free sex. Sometimes vaginismus may develop after a traumatic medical event, a sexual trauma, or a stressful period in one’s life.
- Is Vaginismus Treatable?: Yes! The good news is vaginismus is very treatable. It is helpful for women to work with a counselor who specializes in treating pelvic/sexual pain and an OB/GYN who is familiar with vaginismus or a pelvic floor physical therapist. With physical therapy and dilator therapy, many of the contributing physical factors of vaginismus can be resolved. Counseling can help you manage the emotional and psychological component of vaginismus like reducing anticipatory anxiety about sex and working through any related traumas.
- Is Vaginismus Curable?: Some women find that after a period of regular treatment (physical therapy, dilator therapy, counseling), their symptoms completely resolve. Other women seem to have to always manage their symptoms to some degree or that their symptoms may flare in times of stress.
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