It is a condition that is little talked about, because it still seems to be a taboo subject, and many of the women who have it or have had it at some point, do not discuss it openly, sometimes not even with their gynecologist..
To break these stigmas it is important to know what vaginismus is, its causes, symptoms and treatment. And above all, to understand that it is a normal situation, like many others, that it has a solution and that many other women have experienced it.
What is vaginismus?
The involuntary contraction of the pelvic area is known as vaginismus.. It is considered a sexual dysfunction because the total or partial closure of the vagina makes penetration painful and often impossible.
This condition also usually occurs during gynecological examination and when inserting a menstrual cup or tampon. But why does vaginismus occur? We tell you here the causes, symptoms and treatment.
- You may be interested in: “Vaginal candidiasis: causes, symptoms and treatment”.
Causes of vaginismus
There are multiple causes of vaginismus. There are physical and psychological factors that can cause this condition. It is important to detect the origin, since the treatment and its effectiveness depend to a great extent on it.
About 15% of women have at some time presented vaginismus. Of all of them, only 10% have had some physical factor as a cause.The majority of this situation is due to psychological issues. These are the most common physical and psychological causes of vaginismus:
Endometriosis is the most common physical cause of vaginismus. It is considered one of the possible symptoms to detect this other condition, which is an abnormal growth of the endometrium.
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2. Stiff hymen
When there is a rigid hymen, vaginismus can develop. The hymen is a thin, elastic membrane.. In some women this membrane is fibrous or hardened and can cause involuntary contractions of the pelvis by not allowing the hymen to break or stretch.
3. Pelvic inflammation
Inflammation of the pelvis can cause vaginismus. Infections, for example from sexually transmitted diseases, cause pelvic inflammation. This in turn can cause involuntary contractions in the muscles of the vagina.
4. Stenosis of the vagina
With stenosis of the vagina, vaginismus may also occur. This condition is developed by some types of surgery or radiotherapies located in the pelvis and cause thinning or lacerations in the lining of the vagina.. This, in turn, can lead to vaginismus.
5. Pre-penetration anxiety
A psychological factor in vaginismus is extreme anxiety prior to penetration. For various reasons, a woman may have excessive anxiety that causes physical contractions in the vagina as a physical reaction that prevents penetration.
Fear of penetration or gynecological examinations can lead to vaginismus. Many women feel anxiety or excessive fear of pregnancy or sexual intercourse itself.. As a psychological defense to this fear, the vagina contracts to protect itself from what the brain interprets as danger.
7. Previous traumatic experiences
A person who has suffered some type of sexual violence may present several disorders. Among them fear and anxiety that manifests itself with paralysis and possible vaginitis due to the extreme fear of repeating the experience of abuse or violence.
8. Erroneous sexual education
A lack of sexual information generates doubts, fears and anxiety. If there has been a deficient sexual education, full of myths or with a rigid and blaming perspective, women may find it impossible to fully enjoy sexual intercourse, or to feel confident about vaginal exploration.
Vaginismus presents very clear symptoms that should be detected. It is important to remember that an accurate diagnosis will depend to a great extent on an equally effective treatment. For this it is important to recognize the symptoms.
It should be remembered that the signs of vaginismus can be present not only during intercourse, but also in a gynecological examination and even in a self-examination.
1. Pain that makes penetration difficult
A very clear symptom of vaginismus is pain that causes. When the muscles surrounding the vagina contract involuntarily, penetration becomes painful or definitively impossible.
2. Muscle tension during sexual intercourse
Vaginismus sometimes causes muscle tension during intercourse. There is not always a total blockage of the vagina that prevents penetration, so once penetration occurs, there may be muscle tension that causes pain.
3. Inability to insert a tampon
When vaginismus is present, inserting a tampon becomes impossible. Even if it has been inserted regularly before, it may happen that at some point vaginitis becomes present and therefore the tampon cannot be inserted.
4. Inability to allow a gynecological examination
Vaginismus makes gynecological examination impossible. Many women report discomfort during gynecological examinations; however, when the pain is intolerable and the vagina closes completely, it is impossible to perform a gynecological examination. the vagina closes completely, making the introduction of medical instruments impossible.If the pain is intolerable and the vagina closes completely, making the introduction of medical instruments impossible, then we can be sure that it is a clear symptom of vaginismus.
5. Painful spasms
Painful spasms may be due to partial vaginismus. Once penetration has occurred during intercourse, spasms may begin to manifest and cause excessive pain. Intense pain or burning is also common.
Vaginismus is a curable condition.. Once the origin has been determined, the appropriate treatment can be prescribed. However, as far as possible, a comprehensive treatment including various specialties is recommended.
Psychological, gynecological, sexological and physiotherapy treatment will guarantee the success of vaginismus to end this condition that causes pain and the impossibility of enjoying full sexual relations.
1. Psychological therapy
If the cause of vaginitis is psychological or emotional, therapy is an excellent option. It is the specialist who can delve into the causes of the trauma and carry out the necessary measures to heal the fears and traumas.
2. Sexual education
Truthful and adequate information can help vaginitis caused by fear, ignorance or guilt. A specialist sexologist can provide guidance about sexual anatomy, the body’s natural responses and provide information to clear up doubts and fears.
3. Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises can help relax the vaginal muscles. By relaxing and contracting the vagina, the muscles involved in vaginitis often relax and thus decrease pain. These exercises are known as Kegel exercises.
4. Vaginal dilators
Your gynecologist may recommend the use of vaginal dilators. These instruments are made especially for vaginitis problems and with a targeted technique of insertion and gradual dilation, they are a great help for this condition.