Vaginismus

pelvic pain hurtsVaginismus the instantaneous, involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of vaginal penetration.The tightness is caused by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina, and cannot be controlled by the women. Typically the puboccocygeus muscle (in your pelvic floor) tightens suddenly, causing spasm. Because the PC muscle runs right around your vagina, it makes inserting tampons or menstrual cups, or having sex very painful.

In some cases vaginismus tightness may begin to cause burning, pain, or stinging during intercourse. In other cases, penetration may be difficult or completely impossible. The tightness can be so restrictive that the opening to the vagina is ‘closed off’ altogether and the man is unable to insert his penis. The pain of vaginismus ends when the sexual attempt stops, and usually intercourse must be halted due to pain or discomfort.

A Quick Pelvic Floor Primer

The pelvic-floor muscles run from the pubic bone in the front of the pelvis to the coccyx/tailbone in the back of the pelvis. They surround the vaginal canal, approximately one inch up from the vaginal opening. During intercourse, the pelvic-floor muscles have to be flexible enough to stretch and accommodate the penis. If there are muscle adhesions, tension, or trigger points, this restricts movement and causes pain during and following intercourse. The pelvic-floor muscles are directly involved in performing four functions of the body: (1) lower back/core stabilization; (2) normal urinary function; (3) good bowel function; and (4) satisfying sexual function.

Types of Vaginismus

When a woman has never at any time been able to have pain-free intercourse due to this muscle spasm her condition is known as primary vaginismus. Some women with primary vaginismus are unable to wear tampons and/or complete pelvic exams. Many couples are unable to consummate their relationship due to primary vaginismus. 

Vaginismus is when the woman lost the ability to have vaginal penetration/s.   Although penetrations for these women used to be fine, they are now faced with painful/impossible vaginal penetration. This type of condition, known as secondary vaginismus, is usually precipitated by a medical condition, traumatic event, or even childbirth. Other causes include surgery, menopause cancer treatments, frequent vaginal infections, and sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Also consider that re-occurent yeast infections could cause this problem as well. See Where’s the Yeast? When pelvic floor dysfunction mimics yeast infections for more information.

Ways to Beat Vaginismus

Go and see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist! The physio will show you how to relax your PC muscle. You will normally use a set of pyrex dilators, each one bigger than the next, ranging in size from about a little finger to the size of an actual penis. You will need to insert the dilator while relaxing your PC muscles. Once you master a particular size dilator, you will  move to the next size up.

The physiotherapist can also work on the trigger points along the pelvic floor, and also the connective tissue.  This will also help to relax your muscles and helps to reduce pain.

Kegels and Vaginismus

This was taken from a blog post regarding “whether or not you should do kegels” by Megan Burbank.

“Because for some women, Kegels are actually counterproductive. “[T]here is a subset of women who need to learn how to relax those same muscles,” says Greenberg (a nurse practitioner treating women with pelvic floor dysfunction at Women’s Surgical Specialists, a clinic in Washington State.) “Generally, these women do not need to do Kegels, because they have plenty of muscle tone, to the point of pain.” This can lead to conditions like vaginismus (when the pelvic floor muscles involuntarily tense up, making penetration painful or impossible) and dyspareunia (pain with sex). Greenberg says these conditions often go underreported, which isn’t surprising, given how NOT GOOD we are at talking about this stuff. “

Articles on Vaginismus

Success story by Patricia Niklas

Good article from Jezebel on Vaginismus. 

Dilator use for those suffering with Vaginismus.

Sex Without Pain

What Causes Vaginismus? – Great article