Talking about sexual health in society is taboo in society, similar to mental health. We are living in the 21st century, but still, issues are not well handled by the majority in society. Sexual health is equally as mental health and especially for those who are suffering from everyday sexual problems, there needs to be more awareness about it. Among the several sexual conditions, Vaginismus is one such sexual health problem that is least discussed and known by the people.
What is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is a sexual health condition that affects women. It is considered the body’s automatic reaction during sexual intercourse and penetration that causes the muscle around the vaginal opening to et tight, causing discomfort such as a painful or difficult experience. It reason can be psychological, physiological or sometimes both.
The following article aims to shed some light on these sexual health problems by the possible causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Types of Vaginismus
It is categorized into two types:
Primary: The condition when penetration is not possible or penetration did not happen
Secondary: The condition when penetration happens once, but can happen again due to various factors.
Causes of Vaginismus
The reason behind vaginismus can be different from to person. It is often due to multiple factors. Some of the possible factors behind it are as follows:
1. Psychological Factors:
One of the major actors could be trauma caused in the past. Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse leads to develop anxiety, fear, and negative beliefs such as guilt and shame that could trigger vaginismus. The mind of women full of these memories and emotions could evoke a subconscious response that causes the body to get tense and rigid in order to protect itself.
2. Physical Factors:
Physical factors like vaginal infections, any form of surgery or previous medical professional, trauma caused by childbirth, etc. A condition known as endometriosis can also cause the muscle to get tensed.
3. Relationship Factors:
One of the most common factors of vaginismus could be a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship. When there is a lack of proper communication between partners it can result in difficulty having intercourse and enhance the symptoms of vaginismus.
4. Cultural and Religious Influences:
It is so common from a religious point of view to picture sex as a subject of utmost privacy rather than seeing it as a natural process of life. Orthodox religious factors, stigma, and strict family background can cause to believe sex is a sin outside marriage. Thinking like these that were built from childhood can cause problems later in life, hence leading to sexual problems such as vaginismus.
What are the Symptoms of Vaginismus?
The symptoms of vaginismus can range from mild to severe and may include:
1. Painful Penetration:
Pain and discomfort during vaginal penetration such as sexual intercourse, inserting a tampon, or inserting something in the vagina or pelvic region during a medical examination.
2. Involuntary Muscle Contraction:
Uncontrolled tightening of pelvic muscles which results in cause so prevents penetration
3. Anxiety and Fear:
The feeling of Anxiety, fear, or anticipation about sex and the sexually related problem can cause the muscles to get tense.
4. Feeling of burning sensation:
While penetration there could be a feeling of a Burning sensation around the vaginal opening.
Diagnosis of Vaginismus
A vaginismus can be diagnosed with the help of a medical assessment, physical examination, and psychological test conducted by a professional. A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in treating women’s reproductive health problems,
1) Medical History:
A person’s medical history is examined to rule out any precious previous infections, surgeries, or any other medical conditions that could cause vaginismus.
2) Physical Examination:
A pelvic muscle examination is conducted to check for internal bodily or problems such as internal infection injury etc that may be the cause of physical pain.
3) Psychological Evaluation:
Psychological tests are conducted to assess a person’s past experiences, emotional trauma, and beliefs attached to sex. It is done to identify the possible psychological factor that could be the reason for vaginismus.
Treatment for Vaginismus:
Treating vaginismus involves a combination of physical and psychological therapies;
1. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy:
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy involves exercise and techniques guided by a physiotherapist. It relaxes and strengthens the pelvic muscles which helps in reducing muscle tightening and pain.
2. Counseling and Therapy:
Various forms of therapy such as stalk therapy or sex therapy by mental health professionals could people deal with mental trauma and anxiety caused by past experiences. Talking to a sex therapist could be a great help since they specialize in dealing with sexual problems and Regular therapy could help deal with the negative beliefs surrounding sex.
3. Education and Communication:
Normalizing sex education and talking about sex could people deal with these issues also, Improving communication between partners would foster trust in relationships and improve sexual intimacy also.
We use medications like muscle relaxants to relax the tensed muscles and alleviate the pain. The doctor can prescribe medications like mild antidepressants to help address the anxiety experienced during penetration.
Vaginismus is a challenging sexual problem that can cause mental and emotional problems in women. A dissatisfied sexual life can also disrupt healthy relationships and marriage, which further affects mental health. Dealing with vaginismus requires individuals to enhance their communication, acquire better knowledge about sex, and seek assistance from professionals. Furthermore, the surrounding taboo about these issues needs to deal with in order to raise awareness about the importance of sexual health problems.