Vaginismus is a condition many individuals don’t know about, but it affects a great deal of the population. This medical condition has an effect on a woman’s ability to withstand vaginal penetration. Manual penetration, sexual intercourse, insertion of menstrual cups and tampons, and gynecological examinations can all be affected through the condition. Vaginismus occurs when the vaginal muscle spasms involuntarily, which causes all vaginal penetration to become either painful or impossible. There is no evidence currently available to explain which specific muscle causes the contraction, though a variety of muscles are suspected to be the root cause. Women with vaginismus do not have conscious control over the muscle spasm. The vagina reflexively spasms, similarly to how an eye will close when it senses an object moving toward it. The severity of the spasm and subsequent pain varies widely from patient to patient.
There are two main types of vaginismus: primary and secondary vaginismus. With primary vaginismus, a woman has never achieved vaginal penetration, and with secondary vaginismus, vaginal penetration has been achieved once, but it is not possible any longer due to extenuating circumstances. Involved factors might be radiation, trauma, or gynecologic surgery, and women sometimes develop vaginismus following menopause. Diagnosing vaginismus typically begins with a description of the symptoms. The doctor will ask questions about a patient’s sexual history, when they noticed there was a problem, and how often the problem occurs. Concrete diagnosis and treatment generally require a pelvic exam. A doctor should be as gentle with their exam as possible. It’s often helpful to suggest the patient guide the doctor’s hand or their medical instrument to reduce potential pain. Doctors can explain each step of the exam as they perform it. A doctor is mainly looking for signs of scarring and infection. If an individual has vaginismus, there won’t be another apparent cause.
Continue reading to learn about psychological treatment for vaginismus.