If your vagina won't let anything in (even a tampon), just know that you're not broken. You may have vaginismus. Vaginismus is a condition that affects many women worldwide, yet it's not often talked about. It can leave women feeling isolated, embarrassed, and confused about what's happening to their bodies. So let’s talk about it because there shouldn’t be any shame around your pain. Continue reading if you want to find out why you’re feeling pain during sex and how to get over vaginismus.
What Is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is one form of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and is a condition in which the muscles at the entrance to the vagina (also known as pelvic floor muscles) suddenly tighten up at the moment of penetration. This vaginal muscle spasm is an unconscious reaction to the fear of oncoming vaginal penetration.
The Different Types of Vaginismus Include:
- Primary vaginismus is when a woman has always experienced vaginismus symptoms. This means that they have never been able to tolerate any form of vaginal penetration without issue.
- Secondary vaginismus occurs when a woman who was previously able to have penetrative sex experiences involuntary muscle contractions that make it painful or impossible. This type of vaginismus can be caused by physical or emotional changes, such as menopause, childbirth, sexual trauma, stress, or certain vaginal infections.
- Global vaginismus is when involuntary muscle contractions occur in all situations, including sexual intercourse, tampon insertion, and gynecological exams.
- Situational vaginismus means that a woman may experience her symptoms during some types of vaginal penetration, but not during others. For example, a woman’s vaginismus may be triggered during sex or with a particular partner, but not when she tries to insert a tampon or tries other sexual positions.
How Common Is Vaginismus?
65% of women have reported vaginal pain the last time they had sex. That’s 65% too many! This is why Quanna has partnered with fellow intimate wellness pioneer Aquafit, and has launched V My Hero. This is a campaign that highlights self-care for your vaginal health.
Pain during sex is common, but that doesn’t mean it should be pushed to the side. Thanks to a lack of comprehensive sexual education classes and ridiculous urban myths, women have long been conditioned to think “well, it’s going to be painful until it’s not…right?.”
Wrong! If you’re experiencing frequent or intense pain, that's enough to book a visit with your doctor. Do not ignore vaginal discomfort for someone else's comfort. You are in control of your vaginal health. Find out the causes and solutions for your vaginal pain with Quanna x Aquafit’s offering of a free assessment. Plus 20% off site-wide our self-care items, so you can discover relief for yourself. Just check out: https://vmyhero.com/
How to Treat Vaginismus
Vaginismus is a condition that can be disruptive to your libido and sex life. It can also be difficult to discuss, as it’s quite personal. It is important to find a provider with whom you feel comfortable. Once vaginismus is diagnosed, there are plenty of treatment options to help discover your pleasure again. The goal is to manage your feelings around penetration and reduce fear and anxiety while gradually getting used to the physical sensations.
1. Relax the Mind
This can involve talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or trauma-focused therapy if appropriate. Psychotherapy can help to address the pain involved in stages of vaginismus, from the panic reaction to penetration. It’s common to have anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and fear with vaginismus. Sex therapy is also a good form of talk therapy that helps inform patients about their anatomy and improves their feelings surrounding their bodies and sex life.
2. Relax the Muscles
Pelvic floor therapy may be effective for vaginismus. It helps increase awareness of the pelvic floor muscles. So it may help you gain better control over these muscles and decrease the number of spasms you have. Pelvic floor exercises can be paired with the use of dilators. These are tube-shaped objects of different sizes, which you insert into the vagina. You begin with the very smallest and work up to the next size once you’re comfortable.
3. Medication Options
Consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Your prescribed options can include topical medications like topical estrogen, and lidocaine, or compounded prescriptions like gabapentin. Botox injections may also reduce pain with sex.
Can You Cure Vaginismus?
Yes. A cure being that you’re able to achieve sexual penetration without significant pain. One study showed that after treatment, 79% of people were able to have sex successfully. And this was regardless of the therapy and sexual wellness products they used. If you’re willing and able to get treatment, the good news is that a cure is more likely than not.