If you've been struggling with painful sex, there is hope.
WHAT DOES VAGINISMUS FEEL LIKE?
Full sexual penetration seems physically impossible despite repeated attempts — almost as though there is no opening where the vaginal opening is supposed to be.
Women often mistakenly wonder if they are physically abnormal in some way; whether their vagina is too small, their hymen is blocking the opening or they have no vaginal hole at all. Yet, Vaginismus is indicated in over 99% of cases.
Pain and tightness blocking attempts at insertion
(not always present)
Difficulty inserting tampons even after repeated attempts
Difficulty undergoing pelvic/gynecological exam with speculum/finger
WHAT IS VAGINISMUS?
Vaginismus is a condition where the muscles surrounding the entrance to the vagina involuntarily tighten, making penetration impossible or painfully uncomfortable. Most women are unaware that their muscles tighten in this way during attempted penetration.
Note that some clinicians use the medical term Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD) in place of Vaginismus.
Many women with vulvodynia also have pelvic floor dysfunction, and this is thought to be because of a habit of contracting the pelvic floor in response to pain. Contracting the muscles for a long time decreases blood flow, shortens muscles, and limits mobility; this can lead to the development of trigger points, or knots, in the muscles, which are especially painful.
Vaginismus is pain associated with sex that is caused by improperly functioning pelvic floor muscles. In women with vaginismus, the pelvic floor muscles contract in anticipation of touch or penetration. This can make penetration painful or even impossible. Vaginismus is unique from other pelvic floor dysfunction in that psychosocial factors play a significant role.
As the man approaches the woman to attempt intercourse, her vaginal muscles (darkly shaded) involuntarily tightens the vaginal entrance making intercourse impossible, "like bumping into a wall".
CAN VAGINISMUS BE TREATED?