How to treat vaginismus?
Female vaginismus is a pathology where there is the involuntary and unconscious tightness of the vagina during attempted intercourse. This is a psychological condition and refers to systematic neurosis. It is a widespread condition and may occur at any age, but most often it happens during the first attempts at sex. Depending on the severity of the condition, women with vaginismus have difficulties with getting pregnant. This pathology is considered to be one of the causes of female infertility.
Causes of vaginismus
Despite the fact that vaginismus is a psychological condition, there are a number of predisposing factors causing physiological contractions. This is a pseudo vaginismus and it is followed by the following:
- female genitals traumas;
- inflammatory conditions leading to the vaginal dryness;
- too thick hymen;
- obstructed labor.
As there are no problems in getting rid of physical vaginismus, because it is sufficient to cure the major pathology, this condition is considered to be just a symptom.
True vaginismus is a psychological disease and has other predisposing factors:
- fear of the first sexual intercourse;
- fear of pain in general;
- indifference and rude behavior of a sexual partner;
- presence of other people during an intercourse;
- problems of moral education (the girl was taught that sex is something awful and unacceptable);
- latent homosexualism;
- rape or its attempts.
The mechanism for vaginismus symptoms development relates to three psychological disorders: neurasthenia, hysteria and phobias. In neurasthenia vaginismus occurs as an unconditional reflective protection against some provocative element. Phobias are based on pathological fear of sex in general and some of its aspects. Hysteria is a voluntary acceptance of a pathology, for example, as a result of rape when a girl does not want to have sex with certain partner. Hysterical vaginismus may occur consciously and unconsciously.
Symptoms of vaginismus
The major, and often the only, symptom of pathology is a contraction of the pelvic muscles surrounding vagina. In some cases, contractions of the thigh and abdominal muscles may be observed. Contractions are accompanied by pain at attempts to penetrate (not only when a man inserts his penis but at the gynecologic examination as well).
Depending on the progress of the condition, there are three stages of vaginism:
- Light stage. The muscles are contracted when the penis or other objects are inserted into the vagina.
- Medium stage. Contraction occurs before the penetration of when the penis touches female genitals.
- Heavy stage. Contraction occurs even at the thought of penetration.
A separate case is the attack of vaginismus during the intercourse when contraction occurs in the process for unknown reasons. This may happen if the partner is too rude or aggressive towards the girl or if the girl was suddenly scared by something. The penis of the partner gets squeezed and it brings a severe pain, and it does not seem possible to remove the penis.
However vaginismus does not relate to sexual arousal, natural lubrication and other signs of increased libido in women. It means that women with this condition may obtain sexual arousal and reach the orgasm without penetration.
Diagnosis of vaginismus
Diagnosis vaginismus requires a detailed analysis of personal medical history which often reveals the reasons for contractions. A doctor also listens to and analyzes a woman’s complaints. A doctor has difficulty in performing gynecologic examination and sometimes it is impossible which only confirms vaginismus.
Then standard laboratory tests are taken to exclude all possible pathologies. If the reason of muscle contraction is psychological, vaginismus diagnosis is made.
A woman should also have a consultation with a psychiatrist and sexual health specialist who confirm or exclude a psychological condition.
How to get pregnant in vaginismus?
Clearly, heavy stage of vaginismus makes impregnation impossible as muscle contractions occur at the thought of sex. However, vaginismus and pregnancy are not necessarily incompatible things. There is a chance of impregnation if the sperm gets into the vulvar vestibule. It will not bring any pleasure to a woman but will make the impregnation possible.
During delivery a woman should not be afraid of the attack as special sex hormones are released, relieving contractions and widening reproductive tracts. However, additional anesthesia may be used to relieve pain.
Vaginismus and erectile dysfunction
In some married couples, both partners have these conditions and we can not say what was the original cause of sexual problems in the partners. Sometimes a woman is so dissatisfied in a man that contraction occurs as a response to his unsuccessful attempts to penetrate. Or a man loses his confidence after several failures.
In this case, treatment of vaginismus and erectile dysfunction is simultaneous. Psychotherapy is recommended, the couple have a consultation with a sex health specialist who chooses the optimal therapy. There are couples who despite the absence of sexual life live happily for many years without any sexual problems or other conflicts.
How to treat vaginismus?
Vaginismus requires a complex treatment and medications are rarely used. Several types of therapy are indicated to treat vaginismus:
- Psychoanalysis. This procedure implies acceptance of oneself and one’s desires, getting rid of prejudices concerning sex, boosting self-confidence. Hypnotherapy helps to fix the result and a woman ceases to fear sex. The patients stop worrying, neurosis and other psychological disorders disappear.
- Sex therapy with the partner. Both partners go to the therapy together to restore harmony in their relations, not only sexual but emotional as well. A specialist explains to the man that he should be patient and careful in his attempts to give pleasure to the woman. Probably, vaginismus occurred because of improper attitude of the partner.
- Exercises in vaginismus. Before recommending a woman to do special exercises, a doctor should explain, or better demonstrate, the mechanism of contractions. Then a woman is given different dilators. The doctor teaches her several methods how to relax muscles and offers to have a course of exercises. A woman should insert every day dilators into her vagina, leaving them inside for 15 minutes to make the muscles adapt.
In general, complex treatment of vaginismus gives a positive result and helps to completely eliminate the pathology. In some cases, a woman will have to exercise herself before an intercourse with the help of dilators, but later there will be no need in such exercises. Be aware, that even after a woman is cured, both partners should be very careful to avoid contraction during sex and calling the emergency.