Vaginismus: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What is vaginismus?

Vaginismus is an involuntary response triggered by apprehension or anxiety associated with any or all forms of vaginal penetration.

When a penetration attempt is made, your vaginal muscles automatically contract, and you have no control over it. It may be distressing and even painful, but it is treatable.

What are the causes of vaginismus?

Vaginismus is a condition that affects sexual functioning. There are several potential causes for vaginismus, which include:

  • Mental health factors.
  • Painful medical conditions such as thrush.
  • Unpleasant first sexual experience.
  • Uncomfortable medical examination.
  • Fear of sex or negative feelings about sex.
  • A response to physical pain.

What are the symptoms of vaginismus?

Symptoms of vaginismus include:

  • Difficulty inserting tampon into vagina.
  • Painful vaginal penetration during sexual intercourse.

Vaginismus does not necessarily impact your ability to become aroused and find pleasure in other forms of sexual contact.

How is vaginismus diagnosed?

Vaginismus is typically diagnosed through a clinical evaluation, and there is no specific diagnostic test for it. Your doctor can usually determine if you have vaginismus based on your reported symptoms and a physical examination.

During the examination, they may be able to detect the tightening of the muscles around the vaginal opening, which is a common characteristic of vaginismus.

How is vaginismus treated?

Typically, the treatment for vaginismus emphasises on managing your feelings about penetration and exercises to become progressively used to penetration.

Initially, treatment is carried out with the guidance of your doctor, and you will be required to practice certain exercises at home.

If you are in a relationship, you have the option to include your partner in the process. Treatment is usually effective; you may notice improvements within a few weeks.

Below are some treatment options for vaginismus.

  • Pelvic floor exercises: These exercises reduce muscle tension and improve your ability to relax during vaginal penetration.
  • Vaginal dilators: Vaginal dilators are tube-shaped devices of varying sizes. These help people with vaginismus feel less sensitive and more at ease with vaginal penetration.
  • Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help reduce anxiety and muscle tension, making penetration easier.
  • Counselling: Counselling can be beneficial, especially if there are underlying emotional or psychological factors contributing to vaginismus. A therapist can help you address any anxiety, trauma, or negative thoughts related to sex and intimacy.
  • Vaginismus surgery: Vaginismus surgery is only required in a small number of cases.

Make an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

If you or someone you know is dealing with vaginismus, take action today to seek help and support. Reach out to a doctor to discuss your concerns and explore treatment options.

A dedicated and expert team of obstetricians and gynaecologists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance. Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have any concerns or questions regarding your reproductive health.

You may also contact the Health Screening Centre at your nearest Pantai Hospital for health screening appointments.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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