Living with vaginismus can turn routine things like inserting a tampon or sexual intercourse into a frustrating, uncomfortable ordeal. Vaginismus is a condition in which the vaginal muscles contract involuntarily during any form of vaginal penetration. Depending on the woman, the effects of vaginismus can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. As we always say, patient education and knowledge are highly effective tools for women who try to maintain the best-possible reproductive health. This is why our board-certified gynecologists are happy to answer a few common questions about vaginismus.
What are the Different Types of Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is classified into two types; primary vaginismus and secondary vaginismus. Primary vaginismus refers to women who were born with their condition. Secondary vaginismus describes when vaginal penetration was once possible but can no longer be achieved. Some women may develop secondary vaginismus after menopause as a result of diminished estrogen production. Additionally, some women have vaginismus pain during all situations (global vaginismus), while others only experience symptoms in specific situations (situational vaginismus).
What Causes Vaginismus?
This question can have many different answers depending on the specific woman affected. There are several potential physical and psychological causes of vaginismus. Moreover, it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of a woman’s symptoms. In many cases, vaginismus can be triggered by emotional responses like anxiety and fear related to sex. However, vaginismus can sometimes occur as a reaction to menopause, childbirth, certain medical issues like vaginal infections, or as a side effect to some medications.
How Can Vaginismus be Diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing vaginismus is discussing your symptoms and sexual history with a board-certified gynecologist. Specifically, when and how often these symptoms occur. We will then conduct a physical evaluation (including a pelvic exam). Since it’s common for women with vaginismus to be anxious during pelvic exams, we do everything we can to be gentle and make the exam as comfortable as possible. During the exam, we will look for signs of potential infections or other issues that may be causing your symptoms.
Vaginismus is an intimate, personal issue that can be difficult to talk about. However, vaginismus is nothing to be ashamed of. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we work with our patients to help diagnose the root cause of their issue in order to determine the most appropriate, beneficial treatment plan. If you would like more information on vaginismus, contact board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould to request your appointment today. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, updates, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.