The symptoms vary between person to person. Please make an appointment with a doctor if you are having pelvic pain or painful intercourse.
They may include:
- painful intercourse (dyspareunia), with tightness and pain that may be burning or stinging
- penetration being difficult or impossible
- long-term sexual pain with or without a known cause
- pain during tampon insertion
- pain during a gynecological examination
- generalized muscle spasm or breathing cessation during attempted intercourse
Pain can range from mild to severe in nature and from discomfort to burning in sensation.
Vaginismus does not prevent people from becoming sexually aroused, but they may become anxious about sexual intercourse, so that they try to avoid sex or vaginal penetration.
It is not unusual to see other pelvic pain conditions in Vaginimus patients such as Vulvodynia.
Education and counseling: Providing information about the sexual anatomy and sexual response cycle can help the individual understand their pain and the processes their body is going through.
Emotional exercises: This can help the person identify, express, and resolve any emotional factors that may be contributing to their vaginismus.
Reducing sensitivity to insertion: A woman will be encouraged to touch the area as close as possible to the vaginal opening every day without causing pain, moving closer each day. When she is able to touch the area around the vagina, she will be encouraged to touch and open the vaginal lips, or labia. The next step will be to insert a finger.
Insertion or vaginal dilation training: Once a woman can do this without pain, she will learn to use a plastic vaginal dilator or vaginal trainer.. If she can insert this without pain, the next step will be to leave it in for 10 to 15 minutes, to let the muscles get used to the pressure. Next, she can use a larger insert, and then she can teach her partner how to apply the insert.
When the woman feels comfortable with this, she can allow her partner to put his penis near the vagina, but not inside. When she is completely comfortable with this, the couple can try intercourse again. They may wish to build up gradually to this, as with the insert.
The time it takes for vaginismus to be successfully treated will depend on the individual.
It is very rare that vaginismus needs surgery.
Anyone who is concerned about symptoms relating to vaginismus should speak with their health provider for evaluation. You can always start vaginal training at home as well after speaking with a professional.
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