For some women, the vaginal muscles involuntarily or persistently contract once they attempt vaginal penetration. This is called vaginismus. The contractions can prevent sexual activity or make it very painful.
This can happen:
Ø as the partner attempts penetration
Ø when a woman inserts a tampon
Ø when a woman is touched near the vaginal area
Vaginismus doesn’t interfere with arousal , but it can prevent penetration.
A gentle pelvic exam typically shows no explanation for the contractions. No physical abnormalities contribute to the condition. Sexual dysfunction can occur in both males and females and can usually be treated. It’s not your fault, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Nevertheless, these disorders can interfere with your relationships and your quality of life. Experts doesn’t know exactly how many women have vaginismus, but the condition is considered to be uncommon.
Types of vaginismus
Vaginismus is classified into two types:
Ø primary vaginismus: when vaginal penetration has never been achieved
Ø secondary vaginismus: when vaginal penetration was once achieved, but is no longer possible, potentially due to factors such as gynecologic surgery, trauma, or radiation.
Some women develop vaginismus after menopause. When estrogen levels drop, a lack of vaginal lubrication and elasticity makes intercourse painful, stressful, or impossible. This can lead to vaginismus in some women.
Dyspareunia is that the medical term for painful sexual activity . It’s often confused with vaginismus.
However, dyspareunia could be due to:
Ø pelvic inflammatory disease
Ø vaginal atrophy
Causes of vaginismus
There’s not always a reason for vaginismus. The condition has been linked to:
Ø past sexual abuse or trauma
Ø past painful intercourse
Ø emotional factors
In some cases, no direct cause are often found.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your medical and sexual history. These histories can help give clues to the underlying cause of the contractions.
Symptoms of vaginismus
Involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles is that the primary symptom of vaginismus, but the severity of the condition varies between women. In all cases, constriction of the vagina makes penetration difficult or impossible.
If you've got vaginismus, you can’t manage or stop the contractions of your vaginal muscles.
Vaginismus can have additional symptoms, including fear of vaginal penetration and decreased concupiscence associated with penetration.
Women with vaginismus often report a burning or stinging pain when anything is inserted into the vagina.If you've got vaginismus, it doesn’t mean that you’ll stop enjoying sexual activities altogether. Women who have the condition can still feel and crave pleasure and have orgasms.
Many sexual activities don’t involve penetration, including:
Ø oral sex
Diagnosis of vaginismus
Diagnosis of vaginismus usually begins with describing your symptoms. Your doctor will likely ask:
Ø when you first noticed a problem
Ø how often it occurs
Ø what seems to trigger it
Typically, your doctor will also ask about your sexual history, which may include questions about whether you’ve ever experienced sexual trauma or abuse. In general, diagnosis and treatment of vaginismus require a pelvic exam. It’s common for ladies with vaginismus to be nervous or fearful about pelvic exams. If your doctor recommends a pelvic exam, you can discuss ways to make the exam as comfortable as possible for you. Some women prefer not to use stirrups and to try different physical positions for the exam. You may feel more at ease if you can use a mirror to see what your doctor is doing. When a doctor suspects vaginismus, they’ll generally perform the exam as gently as they will . They may suggest that you simply help guide their hand or medical instruments into your vagina to form penetration easier. You can ask your doctor to explain every step of the exam to you as they go along. During the exam, your doctor will look for any sign of infection or scarring.
In vaginismus, there’s no physical reason for the vaginal muscles to contract. That means, if you've got vaginismus, your doctor won’t find another cause for your symptoms.
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