Vaginismus is a condition where the muscles around your vagina spontaneously tighten, making any kind of contact or touch inside of your vagina feel extremely uncomfortable or even painful. Many people can experience it while having penis-in-vagina sex, inserting a tampon, inserting a sex toy, inserting a finger, or getting a pelvic exam. If you're having symptoms like pain or discomfort often during these activities it's possible that vaginismus could be the cause.
Knowing whether you have vaginismus means paying attention to your body and your symptoms. Are you feeling extreme tightness or a sensation like the muscles inside your vagina are clamping down when you attempt to have sex or put a finger or tampon into your vagina?
To find out if you have vaginismus you can book an appointment with a nurse or doctor, like the staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center. At the appointment, they’ll likely ask about your symptoms and health history, do a thorough exam (to your comfort level), rule out other possible causes, and help you decide the best treatment options.
It’s important to know that vaginismus can be cured. Treatment of vaginismus can include kegel exercises, topical treatments (creams and ointments applied to your skin), pelvic floor physical therapy, sex therapy, vaginal dilators, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). All of these treatments help relax your vaginal muscles and stop spasms.
Vaginismus affects everyone differently, and the causes vary. Childbirth trauma and injuries, such as ones caused by birth complications, vaginal tearing, emergency c-section, use of forceps, or not having a childbirth experience that was expected, can lead to vaginismus. Sexual trauma, stress, anxiety, or fear may also cause vaginismus. Remember, you're not alone on this journey, and there is support to help you cure vaginismus.