Vaginismus - break that vicious cycle!
Vaginismus is defined as recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina, which interferes with sexual activity and causes distress and interpersonal difficulty. Women often reported experiencing pain, sensations of burning, cramping and spasm causing difficulty or inability to receive vaginal penetration.
Vaginismus can be divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary vaginismus is a condition wherein a woman has never been able to receive vaginal penetration and is unable to have sex. It is often discovered during the teenage years or early adulthood during first attempts at using a tampon or engaging in sexual intercourse. Secondary vaginismus is often experienced after a period of normal sexual function. This is often attributed to hormonal changes such as menopause, childbirth, pelvic surgery such as caesarean section or radiation therapy to the pelvic region and after previous traumatic sexual experience.
Women who experience vaginismus often feels fear and anxious leading to avoidance of sexual activity. Attempt of penetration cause women with vaginismus to clench their pelvic floor muscle, buttock, thigh and sometimes their hand, shoulder and neck muscle. Many marriages have been left unconsummated because of vaginismus. Often women with vaginismus suffer in silence and reluctant to seek treatment. Vaginismus is not a permanent condition and it’s not impossible to treat.
It is important to break the vicious pain cycle associated with vaginismus. When a women with vaginismus attempts to have intercourse, the previous experience of pain heightens the fear perpetuating the physical response causing the body to reject any attempt of penetration. Breaking the pain cycle is very important. This can be done by use of aneasthetic numbing gels that are applied to the vaginal entrance, muscle relaxant medication, graduated use of vaginal dilators and sex/couple therapy.
Vaginal dilators comes in incremental sizes, starting with the smallest, about the size of the the finger to larger size. It's usually made from plastic or silicone. The dilators is inserted slowly and gently after use of anaesthetic numbing gels with helps of lubricant. Women are advised to focus on their breathing and relaxation techniques. You can also use mirror to guide you or a pillow under your buttock during the insertion process. Gently push the dilator in and out and rotate in wide circles to stretch the vaginal wall. Once you feel comfortable and not experiencing any pain or spasm, gradually use a bigger size dilator.
It is also very important to involve your partner in the process. Communication is key to help you and your partner get through the journey. Even though you and your partner could not have penetrative sexual intercourse, there is no reason to stop being physically intimate with each other. You can still hold her hand and support her.
There is no real quick fix for vaginismus. Treatment may take times and patience. Other methods such as botox treatment and sex therapy can also be consider if there are no improvement. You do not need to suffer in silence. You can come visit us for consultation with our doctor to discuss how you can break the vicious cycle of vaginismus and start the process of embarking onto a healthy and enjoyable sexual relationship.