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You might be unfamiliar with vaginismus. That’s because it’s thought only 2 in 1,000 people will suffer from the condition. Yet, this number could be much higher - and we’re going to tell you why.
Unfortunately, this condition is caused by a vaginal tightness that can result in discomfort, pain, burning and penetration issues. In some cases, a woman will be unable to have sexual intercourse with a partner.
We are therefore looking at the 5 things you need to know about vaginismus, so you can boost your awareness and understanding of the condition.
1. Most women don't like to talk about it.
Remember when we said the number of people suffering from the condition could be much higher? That’s because people suffering from vaginismus don’t like to talk about it.
Why? Because they may be embarrassed by the condition, which means many people may not seek help. The embarrassment is often due to their inability to enjoy a sex life or because they may be unable to become pregnant.
2. Some women believe they can't be helped.
After many attempts to enjoy penetration or to experience penetration at all, some women may believe they are a lost cause. As a result, they may wrongly accept they can’t be helped and will embark on sex-free life.
It might be a relief to learn that vaginismus is highly treatable. Those who choose to embark with treatment could make a full recovery.
The treatments also won’t result in a person having to take any drugs, embarking with surgery or hypnosis. You don’t have to worry about any invasive techniques, either.
All it may take is a vaginismus treatment kit that features different-sized vaginal dilators, which a person can use in the privacy of their own home. This can help a woman become more comfortable with penetration. As a result, most couples can enjoy pain-free sexual intercourse.
3. It can happen at any age.
Any woman at any age can develop vaginismus. A private clinic found that 18% of people experiencing the condition are under the age of 25 years old. Yet, improved diagnosis rates and detailed understanding of vaginismus could result in this figure being much higher. The clinic also found 53% are aged between 26 to 35 years old.
Twenty six percent are aged 36 to 50 years old, and most of the women either married later in life or experienced unconsummated marriages for many years. The embarrassment and shame may have prevented a person from seeking medical help for decades or years.
The clinic also found that only 9% of women are aged 51 or over. At this point, many of the women may have chosen to live a sex-free life. JAMA Internal Medicine’s research letter stated that women between 40 to 65 years old are more likely to remain sexually active if it’s important to them. Yet, if a woman has not experienced an active sex life, sexual intercourse might become less important to them as they grow older.
4. There are two types of vaginismus.
There are two types of vaginismus: primary vaginismus and secondary vaginismus.
Primary vaginismus is when a woman is yet to enjoy pain-free sexual intercourse. This is due to involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles.
Those experiencing primary vaginismus might be unable to wear tampons or complete pelvic exams. Both are acts that might seem natural to a person not living with the condition.
Sadly, some couples will find it difficult to consummate their relationship due to the symptoms of primary vaginismus.
Secondary vaginismus often develops at a later stage in a woman’s life. Before the condition, she may have enjoyed a healthy sex life for many years. It can often develop due to a traumatic event, childbirth, a medical condition, surgery or the menopause.
5. The symptoms can vary.
The symptoms will often be determined by the intensity of the condition. For instance, some women:
- Will be unable to insert anything into their vagina.
- May find it easy to insert a tampon or experience a pelvic exam; however, they might struggle with penetration.
- May be able to partially insert their partner’s penis, yet they may experience pain.
- May be able to fully insert a partner’s penis, but they may suffer from tightness, pain and discomfort.
- May tolerate many years of uncomfortable sexual intercourse, but the pain might increase over time.
- May endure years of intermittent entry difficulties or may struggle to relax their pelvic area.
Living with vaginismus can affect your emotional health and relationships. It’s important to know you are not alone if you are living with the condition. Don’t suffer in silence.
There are many women who are experiencing the same condition as you, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. It is possible to recover from vaginismus, you just need to take the right steps.
Book an appointment with your doctor and invest in a vaginal dilator kit. Eventually, you may be able to enjoy a healthier, happier sex life.