Vaginismus is a sexual problem that is being faced by many women. This condition causes the vagina to tighten during intercourse because of spasm in pelvic muscles. This is a very serious problem, in extreme cases, it makes it impossible for a woman to engage in intercourse and can be a very painful experience. The common causes of Vaginismus are yeast infections or past trauma due to abuse and assault.
Women suffering from this condition are advised that they may seek professional help.
Types of vaginismus:
- Primary vaginismus: This is described as a lifelong condition. This is classified as when a woman has always had pain in while try intercourse or inserting a tampon. Primary vaginismus also means that complete penetration has never been achieved.
- Secondary vaginismus: This type is classified as when penetration has been achieved once. However, penetration has not been possible after once.
- Global vaginismus: This means that vaginismus is also present and any factor can trigger it.
- Situational vaginismus: This type classifies cases where it may only trigger during intercourse, and not in any gynaecological examination or while inserting a tampon.
The symptoms of these types may differ and vary between individuals.
- Painful intercourse, resulting in tightness and pain
- Achieving penetration may be difficult or impossible
- Pain and discomfort during tampon insertion
- Pain and discomfort during a gynaecological examination
Generalized muscle spasm or breathing cessation during attempted intercourse can be experienced
- The pain can range from mild to severe and can lead to discomfort and burning sensation.
Vaginismus is not a condition that prevents people from becoming sexually aroused, however, they may become anxious about sexual intercourse. Therefore these people will try to avoid sex or vaginal penetration.
Causes of vaginismus
This condition can be caused by psychological (emotional factors) and physical factors (medical factors) or both.
The physical factors (medical factors) include:
- Infections (urinary tract infection (UTI) or yeast infection)
- Health conditions (cancer or lichen sclerosis)
- pelvic surgery
- inadequate foreplay
- insufficient vaginal lubrication
- medication side effects
The psychological factors (emotion factors) include:
- Fear of pain or pregnancy
- Anxiety about performance or because of guilt
- Relationship problems, which may include having an abusive partner or feelings of vulnerability
- Traumatic life events, which may include rape or a history of abuse
- Childhood experiences
As for diagnosing vaginismus, a physician will have to conduct a pelvic examination and ask for any medical history. This will help in eliminating any other underlying causes such as an infection or health condition.
Treat is always aimed at obstructing the triggering factor that leads to muscle spasms. Emotionally relaxing will help deal with the fear of pain and anxiety. Treatments involving physical and emotional exercises are quite effective.
Treatments methods will include:
- Educational Counselling – This will help in educating the individuals of their condition and helping them come to terms with the natural anatomy.
- Emotional Counselling and Exercises – This will be aimed at people with emotional underlying causes of vaginismus
- Pelvic floor exercises – These will be a series of exercises that help relax the pelvic muscles.
- Reducing sensitivity – A individual will be encouraged to touch the area as close as possible to the vaginal opening every day without causing pain, moving closer each day.
- Dilating exercise – This method will encourage women to develop a resistance to the pressure when a dilator is inserted. If she can overcome that, she can then move on to other exercises.
In very rare cases, surgery may be needed for vaginismus.
The doctor may advise an adaption to a series of treatments at the same time for faster progress. Although, the time to overcome vaginismus, depends entirely on the individual. Some patients with primary vaginismus may have to live with it forever as well.
He it is hard to diagnose vaginismus. Factors such as secrecy, lack of information and exposure to sexual dysfunctions and conditions make it hard for people to realize that they may be suffering from a sexual condition.