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Vaginismus & Dyspareunia

Vaginismus is a condition where there is involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles during attempted penetration to include intercourse, tampons, or OBGYN examinations. The tightness is actually caused by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina and anus. Vaginismus is highly treatable and does not require drugs, surgery, hypnosis, or any complex invasive technique. Dyspareunia is a medical term that simply means "painful intercourse". It is a general term used to describe all types of sexual pain regardless of the cause.

Vaginismus is a common cause of ongoing sexual pain and is also the primary female cause of sexless marriages. Sexual pain can affect women in all stages of life; even women who have had years of comfortable sex. While temporarily experiencing discomfort during sexual intercourse is not unusual, ongoing problems should be diagnosed and treated.

How does Physical Therapy help Vaginismus?

Because vaginismus is correlated with spasm of the pelvic floor muscles, physical therapists are the optimal provider to treat this condition.

Physical therapy may include:

  • Vaginal dilators and therapeutic exercise to decrease muscle spasm.
  • Manual techniques for soft tissue restriction and pain.
  • Biofeedback for training and re-education to promote relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Education and training on techniques for pelvic floor muscle relaxation are also an important part of treatment.

Your therapist will also be able to provide advice regarding behaviors that may be making your symptoms worse and aid you on the road to recovery.