| Caroline Knight
Do I have vaginismus? Women all over the world are asking this question, and undoubtedly far more often than it might seem. The reason they are reluctant to ask their Doctors is because despite vaginismus being an all-too-common condition, sadly it is still largely perceived as a taboo subject. Even if you’re not sure if you have vaginismus, when something doesn’t feel quite right with your body, the feeling shouldn’t be ignored.
The body always has a way of letting you know when part of it isn’t functioning as it should be, and often the symptoms of dysfunction are pain and inflammation. When dysfunction happens in the vaginal area, it comes with a whole new set of problems: for example, embarrassment, frustration, lack of confidence and anxiety.
This is why women often can’t always diagnose vaginismus for sure, and they end up turning to the internet for guidance. We hope our article will help you to understand if vaginismus is your problem.
Do I have vaginismus?
When looking for answers to the question, “Do I have vaginismus?” you’ll need to honestly assess both your body and mind to see how they react to certain stimuli. The below issues are indicative of vaginismus – especially if you have more than one:
- I have problems inserting a tampon
For many women with vaginismus, it is very difficult to insert a tampon, no matter how small. The tampon may feel like it is hitting a wall, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t insert it. If you keep trying, you’re likely to feel pain and possibly even more physical resistance.
- I get anxious at the thought of penetration
If you feel anxiety at the thought of vaginal penetration, there’s a good chance that you have vaginismus. This anxiety may stem from past trauma, lack of self-confidence of issues with intimacy, for example. When anxiety prevents intimacy, it can even lead to depression eventually. If you do have vaginismus, it will help to try to understand the reasons behind it. Dealing with vaginismus psychologically is often a big part of the recovery process.
- I get spasms in my pelvic floor muscles
One of the main symptoms of vaginismus is involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles. If you find that you have no control over contractions and spasms in your vaginal muscles, you may have vaginismus. Spasms and contractions are painful, and in some cases, women may develop what is known as a ‘hypertonic pelvic floor’. This means that the muscles stay contracted, and this is obviously very uncomfortable.
A hypertonic pelvic floor can also lead to constipation, urgent need to use the toilet, and pelvic pain. It can also lead to tension in the muscles of the hips and other pelvic muscles (e.g. piriformis, obturator internus, coccygeus and hamstrings).
- Sex is difficult, painful or impossible
Due to the muscle contractions and spasms, sexual intercourse can be very challenging and lead to pain and frustration. You may get aroused and have clitoral orgasms, but still be unable to have full sexual intercourse. For other women, anxiety about penetration prevents them from getting aroused at all.
- Gynecological exams are difficult, painful or impossible
The same goes for gynecological exams, but this can be even worse, as let’s face it, there isn’t much reason to look forward to a vaginal examination! Women with vaginismus will find this even more difficult, due to the muscle spasms and constriction of the birth canal. Attempts at penetration with a finger or speculum can result in burning or stinging pains. Examinations can therefore be difficult or even impossible.
What to do if you have vaginismus
In a nutshell, if you have vaginismus, you’re likely to experience tightening of the vaginal muscles, pain during and after sex or examinations, difficulty having sex at all, or even inserting a tampon… and since there are no physical abnormalities that contribute to the condition, it can’t be diagnosed visually.
If you think you have vaginismus, you will surely be looking for ways to relax your vaginal muscles. It would be a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional for a proper diagnosis; visiting a pelvic floor physical therapist is a good place to start. There are also pelvic floor stretches you can do at home, and many women benefit from vaginal dilator therapy, which has been known to bring positive results in a matter of weeks for some.
We hope we have helped you answer the question “Do I have vaginismus?”, and if you think you do, we wish you every success in overcoming your condition. The site contains a wealth of information on the topic, so feel free to take a look around.