Vaginismus is a condition in which the vaginal muscles involuntarily contract when something is inserted into them. This can include a finger, penis, menstrual cup, tampon, or a speculum during a gynecological exam. It can range in severity from a mild discomfort to being unable to insert anything at all.
Who is Affected By Vaginismus?
Vaginismus can affect women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. It has been estimated that somewhere between 2-17% of women have experienced vaginismus at some point in their lives.
What Causes Vaginismus?
The exact cause of vaginismus is unclear, but there are many potential contributing factors, including:
- Painful medical or sexual experiences
- Fear of pain or trauma
- Cultural or religious backgrounds
- Stress or anxiety
- Inadequate knowledge about sexual anatomy
- Muscle spasms
How is Vaginismus Treated?
Vaginismus can be effectively treated. Treatment typically entails working with a healthcare provider to determine the cause of the condition, and using different strategies to help alleviate symptoms.
These strategies can include physical therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, learning relaxation techniques, and using dilators to increase comfort and reduce muscle tension.
The Benefits of Seeking Treatment
Seeking treatment for vaginismus can lead to the resolution of the condition, allowing for more enjoyable sexual experiences and pain free medical exams. Beyond these tangible benefits, simply doing something about the issue can give an improved sense of empowerment and a reduction in the feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and shame that can be associated with the disorder.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of vaginismus, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare provider who can help.