Sex Ed: How Women Overcome Vaginismus

VaginismusWhen a woman has vaginismus, her vagina’s muscles squeeze or spasm when something is entering her, like a tampon or a penis. It can be mildly uncomfortable, or it can be painful. There are exercises a woman can do that can help, sometimes within weeks. vaginismus

Symptoms
Painful sex is often a woman’s first sign that she has vaginismus. The pain happens only with penetration. It usually goes away after withdrawal, but not always. Women have described the pain as a tearing sensation or a feeling like the man is “hitting a wall.” Many women who have vaginismus also feel discomfort when inserting a tampon or during a doctor’s internal pelvic exam.

Causes
Doctors don’t know exactly why vaginismus happens. It’s usually linked to anxiety and fear of having sex. But it’s unclear which came first, the vaginismus or the anxiety. Some women have vaginismus in all situations and with any object. Others have it only in certain circumstances, like with one partner but not others, or only with sexual intercourse but not with tampons or during medical exams.

Other medical problems like infections can also cause painful intercourse. So it’s important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause of pain during sex.

Treatment
dilatorsWomen with vaginismus can do exercises, in the privacy of their own home, to learn to control and relax the muscles around the vagina. The approach is called progressive desensitization, and the idea is to get comfortable with insertion.

First, do Kegel exercises by squeezing the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine when urinating:

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