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Vaginismus is a condition that causes significant distress and discomfort for many women. It is a condition that results in the tightening of the vagina during intercourse, making penetration painful or impossible. It is estimated that vaginismus affects between 6-17% of women, and is one of the most common causes of painful intercourse. In this blog article, we will be unpacking the signs and symptoms of vaginismus, as well as its causes, diagnosis, treatments and cures, and strategies for coping with its effects.
What is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is a condition that affects the ability of a woman to have sexual intercourse. It is characterized by the involuntary contraction of the muscles around the vagina, making it difficult or impossible to have intercourse. It can also make other activities that involve penetration, such as inserting a tampon, very uncomfortable. Vaginismus is a complex condition with both physical and psychological components. It can cause significant distress and can interfere with a woman’s relationship with her partner.
The severity of the condition varies from woman to woman. For some women, the muscles around the vagina contract so strongly that penetration is impossible. Other women may be able to insert one or two fingers, but find intercourse too painful or uncomfortable. It is important to understand that vaginismus is not a sign of a lack of desire or arousal. In fact, many women with vaginismus may experience strong desire and arousal, but are unable to have intercourse due to the physical effects of the condition.
Causes and Risk Factors of Vaginismus
The exact cause of vaginismus is not known. Many experts believe that it is a combination of physical and psychological factors. Physical causes of vaginismus may include:
- Damage to the pelvic floor muscles due to childbirth, surgery, or other trauma
- Infections such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, or sexually transmitted infections
- Allergies to condoms, lubricant, spermicides, or other substances
Psychological risk factors for vaginismus may include:
- Fear of pain associated with intercourse
- Anxiety about performance or body image
- Negative beliefs about sex or sexuality
- History of sexual abuse or trauma
It is important to note that not everyone who experiences these risk factors will develop vaginismus. Many women with these risk factors are able to have healthy and satisfying sexual relationships.
Signs and Symptoms of Vaginismus
The most common sign of vaginismus is pain or discomfort during intercourse or other activities that involve penetration. This can range from mild discomfort to severe burning or stinging. Other symptoms may include:
- Difficulty inserting a tampon
- A feeling of tightness or tension in the pelvic floor muscles
- Difficulty using a menstrual cup
- Difficulty with gynecological exams
- Fear or anxiety about penetration
- Painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse
It is important to note that vaginismus can present differently for each woman. Some women may only experience mild discomfort or tightness, while others may experience severe pain. You can learn more about types of vaginismus here
Diagnosis of Vaginismus
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during intercourse, it is important to see a healthcare provider. A healthcare provider can help diagnose and treat vaginismus. The diagnosis of vaginismus is based on a physical and psychological evaluation. Your healthcare provider may ask questions about your medical history, sexual history, and any psychological factors that may be contributing to the condition. They may also perform a physical examination to check for any physical abnormalities.
Treatments and Cures for Vaginismus
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for vaginismus. Treatment plans are tailored to the individual and may include a variety of approaches. Common treatments for vaginismus include:
- Pelvic floor exercises: These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve the ability to control them.
- Education: Learning about vaginismus can help to reduce fear and anxiety about intercourse.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help to reduce fear and anxiety and improve communication between partners.
- Medical treatments: In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help relax the pelvic floor muscles.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be recommended to help improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles.
Coping Strategies for Vaginismus
Living with vaginismus can be challenging and distressing. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are coping strategies you can use to manage the condition. Here are some tips for coping with vaginismus:
- Educate yourself: Learning about vaginismus can help to reduce fear and anxiety.
- Talk to your partner: Open and honest communication with your partner can help to reduce feelings of shame and embarrassment.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.
- Seek professional help: Talking to a therapist or sex counselor can help to address any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to vaginismus.
Sex Therapy for Vaginismus
Sex therapy can be a useful tool in the treatment of vaginismus. A sex therapist can help to identify and address any psychological triggers that may be contributing to the condition. They can also help to develop a plan to help you and your partner become more comfortable with sexual activities. Sex therapy can also help to improve communication between partners and reduce feelings of embarrassment or shame.
Hypnotherapy is an incredibly effective way of addressing your worries, anxieties, fears and phobias.
The subconscious is not logical, but purely reactive and behavioural. It is where all our learned and sometimes “limiting” behaviours and fears are. This is where the blocks live and where hypnosis does it’s work.
Hypnosis is deeply relaxing and restorative and we can encourage the mind and body to completely relax and to realign. Once we achieve a relaxation response it becomes possible to combat negative thoughts and fears with positive ones and focus on what is achievable rather than the opposite. Anything you imagine and want you can create – so the potential benefits are huge!
With hypnotherapy you are able to reframe thoughts and feel in control.
Overcoming the Fear of Penetration
One of the most common causes of vaginismus is fear of penetration. This fear can be caused by a variety of factors, such as negative beliefs about sex, fear of pain, or a history of trauma or abuse. It is important to understand that this fear is normal and that it can be worked through with the help of a trained professional. A sex therapist can help to identify and address the underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to the fear.
Using sexual freedom hypnotherapy techniques we are able get to the root cause of that fear, alter your perception and create a new sexual blueprint. Hypnotherapy will allow you to build your communication and connection.. This is paramount to good sexual experiences. These sessions will address communication and connecting with others but most importantly yourself and your desires.
Sex therapy will also build your enjoyment and permission for pleasure is essential for a satisfying sexual encounter. Taking ownership of your own sexuality.
Managing the Side Effects of Vaginismus
Living with vaginismus can be difficult and can cause a variety of emotional and physical side effects. It is important to be aware of these effects and to seek help if needed. Common side effects of vaginismus can include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and difficulty with communication with your partner. If you are struggling with any of these effects, it is important to seek support from a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional.
Vaginismus is a condition that can cause significant distress and discomfort for many women. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of the condition, as well as its causes, diagnosis, treatments and cures, and strategies for coping with its effects. If you are struggling with vaginismus, it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider or sex therapist. Contact Helen Birch for a free initial consultation to learn more about vaginismus and how to manage its effects.
Unlock your true potential for pleasure and intimacy with Sexual Freedom Therapy and Hypnotherapy. Our personalized sessions will help you become more in tune with yourself, your feelings, and desires. With our guidance, you can let go of any shame, inhibitions, and libido issues so that you can enjoy your sex life to the fullest. Visit our website here