Sexual health is an important part of overall health, but many of us fail to address issues related to sexual health due to biases, or stigma attached to certain conditions. The ability to embrace and enjoy sexual preferences can have a direct impact on a person’s mental wellness too. Due to the social stigma surrounding sexual health, problems related to this aspect get ignored and diagnosis is often delayed. Sexual health in women can affect fertility, desire for sex, and the ability to reach an orgasm. Vaginismus is one of the most common conditions related to women which causes vaginal muscles to involuntarily and constantly contract during intercourse.
The pain is usually triggered during penetration during intercourse or while inserting a tampon. However, vaginismus doesn’t interfere with sexual arousal and only prevents penetration. It is important for women to understand that sexual dysfunction is common in both men and women and it can easily be treated. Nevertheless, these disorders can have a significant impact on the relationships and day to day life of a woman. Seeking timely medical help can help in an effective treatment plan and would lead to a better quality of sex life. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Priyank Salecha, Urologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad, about the types, symptoms, causes and treatment of Vaginismus.
According to Dr. Priyank, vaginismus is broadly classified into two types that include:
● Primary vaginismus: This is a type when vaginal penetration has never been achieved.
● Secondary vaginismus: This is a type of vaginismus when vaginal penetration was once achieved and is no longer possible, this is due to factors such as gynecologic surgery. In some cases, women develop vaginismus after menopause as the estrogen levels drop and a lack of vaginal lubrication makes intercourse painful, stressful, or impossible.
One of the most common signs of vaginismus is the involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles but the severity of this condition is different in all women. The additional symptoms of vaginismus include fear of vaginal penetration and decreased desire for sex. Women with vaginismus often feel a burning and stinging pain during penetration and while inserting a tampon. It is important for women to understand that vaginismus does not stop women from enjoying sexual activities altogether, they can still have orgasms.
While there are no known causes of the disorder, but certain things can be a trigger for this condition:
- Any blunt trauma to the vagina
- Painful sex or sexual abuse
- Psychological or religious reservations about sex
Vaginismus diagnosis and treatment
The doctor will typically understand the sexual history and later conduct a pelvic exam to diagnose and treat vaginismus. Most women with vaginismus are often nervous and fearful about pelvic exams and need to be counselled.
Fortunately, Vaginismus is easily treatable with help of therapy and physical exercises. Consulting a counsellor who specialises in sexual disorders will help the patient understand how their body responds to certain mechanisms. There are also a few relaxation techniques that make one feel comfortable and open to enjoying intercourse. Vaginal dilators are also prescribed in some cases to make the vagina get flexible and stretch. The cone shapes devices are placed inside the vagina and get bigger at a subtle phase to stretch the vaginal muscles.
Sexual dysfunction can lead to serious complications and problems between two partners. It is extremely crucial to watch the symptoms and address them at the beginning to avoid such situations. Women must know that there is nothing to be ashamed of vaginismus and they should communicate with their partners about their feelings and fears about intercourse. With medical help and continuous communication the condition can be cured and the patient can enjoy a fulfilled sexual life.
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