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Awkward Question: What are Vagina Spasms?

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Posted October 15, 2012 by Kimani in Sex Health

The formal term for vaginal spasms is “Vaginisimus,” and according to Vaginismus.com, it is “vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse.”

Photo courtesy of hepatit.com

 

Why does it happen?

The primary symptom of vaginisimus is the inability to have sexual intercourse, as the walls of the vagina tighten so much that penetration is impossible or extremely painful. The simple thought or awareness that pain may follow can cause severe muscle tightening or spasms in the vaginal walls.

What triggers it? 

Various factors cause vaginisimus, many of which are psychological causes that lead to physical symptoms.

 

Image courtesy of www.moondragon.org

 

Non-physical Causes

While sometimes no direct cause may be identified, Vaginismus.com states fear, anxiety and commitment concerns have been associated with vaginal muscle spasms. Other known reasons involve traumatic sexual experiences, history of sexual abuse or inadequate knowledge regarding sex.

 

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Urinary Tract Infections

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse states women suffering from urinary tract infections often experience discomfort around the pubic area along with burning and pain while emptying the bladder. Urinary tract infections, according to Vaginismus.com, cause the opening of the urethra, or tube leading out of the bladder, to swell and become tender.

View Vadge articles on Urinary Tract Infections Here

Endometriosis

The accumulation of endometrial material outside the endometrium or endometriosis can lead to abnormal structural changes within the vagina, according to MayoClinic.com. Endometriosis causes painful menstrual cycles and ovulation for women, pain during intercourse, pelvic pain during bowel movements and urination and can scar fallopian tubes and inhibit egg fertilization.

Hormonal Changes

As women age, hormone levels begin to fluctuate, points out the National Institute on Aging. This change in hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, can cause dryness in the vagina, increase a woman’s chance of vaginal or urinary infections and eventually lead to menopause or the absence of menstruation. Menopause can occur naturally or be surgically induced by the removal of the ovaries. Menopause affects each woman differently and occasionally results in a lack of sexual interest.

Cancer

Women’s Cancer Network reports vaginal cancer may go undetected, with women not exhibiting any symptoms until the cancerous cells have spread. Cancer of the vagina causes pain during intercourse, pain in the pelvis, including when voiding, constipation and abnormal bleeding. Tumors present in the vaginal canal can also cause pain as well as obstruction.

How Is It Treated? 

2. Get Help from a Sex Therapist

With the help of an experienced sex therapist, most women have a good chance at full recovery from vaginismus. A sex therapist can help you determine the cause of your condition and provide guidance and instruction in exercises you can use to overcome it. A sex therapist can also help you address emotional issues. Even if your vaginismus has a physiological cause, it’s likely that emotional issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and relationship problems have been caused by having to cope with vaginismus in your life. In order for treatment to work completely, these issues usually need to be addressed.

3. Learn to Control Vaginal Muscles With Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises teach you how to contract and release the muscles in your pelvic floor. Because vaginismus involves involuntary contraction of these muscles, learning how to control them at will allows you to override those involuntary spasms. Kegel exercises are easy to do. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, simply attempt to stop your urine flow in mid-stream the next time you’re using the bathroom. The muscles you use to do that are your pelvic floor muscles. Contract and hold these muscles for 5 seconds and then release them. Doing 10 sets of this exercise several times a day will increase your control over your pelvic muscles.

View Vadge Articles on Kegel Exercises Here

 

Images courtesy of www.vaginismus.com

 

4. Desensitize the Vagina Using Dilators

Vaginal dilators are used to desensitize the vagina to penetration. These are typically used in combination with Kegel exercises and should be used with the guidance of a sex therapist. With this therapy, you insert increasingly larger phallic-shaped dilators into the vagina to retrain your pelvic floor muscles to respond appropriately to penetration. You are not trying to stretch out the vagina. This treatment can be practiced with your partner, and can serve the dual purpose of helping to restore an emotional connection that may have been damaged while you were unable to have painless intercourse. The goal of desensitization is to reach a point where you and your partner can have sexual intercourse without any pain.

If you are currently experiencing symptoms of vaginismus, seek professional help from a licensed physician at your earliest convenience. Finding solutions that work best for your body is the primary goal of your OB/GYN.

Find a licensed OB/GYN Here

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/10186-treat-vaginismus/?utm_source=undefined_R1

http://www.livestrong.com/article/144854-causes-of-muscle-spasms-in-the-vagina/

http://middlesexmd.com/condition/vaginismus

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Licensed Obstetricians/Gynecologists: https://www.residencyplace.com/PathFinder/ProgramList.aspx?ListType=0&Specialty=OB/GYN

 

 




About the Author

Kimani

A NY transplant in Florida, Kimani has taken on the task of educating the world on sexual health and education. The Mount Vernon native has seen AIDS and HIV spread through her community like wildfire, and hopes to cease the transmission of these and other diseases one person at a time. If you know better, you're inclined to do better.

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