Vaginismus is the involuntary spasm of a woman’s pelvic floor muscles which surround the vagina. These spasms can be so severe that the vagina closes, leading to painful sex (dyspareunia), painful tampon insertion and a difficult pelvic exam. The pain is most often a burning sensation that may develop as sexual intercourse progresses. Vaginismus is the leading cause of unconsummated sexual relationships. There are varied causes, yet most clinicians believe it has both a physical and emotional component.
There are four different classifications:
- Primary vaginismus (lifelong)
- Secondary vaginismus (occurring after a period of normal sexual function)
- Global vaginismus (occurring in all situations: intercourse, tampon insertion, or pelvic exam)
- Situational vaginismus (occurring when experiencing painful intercourse with only one partner, but not others, or only during sex but not with tampon insertion or pelvic exams.)
Vaginismus can effect women at any stage of their lives. You can find a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist by asking for referral from your GP or visting The POGP (Pelvic, Obstetric, Gynaecological Physiotherapy) website.