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Vaginismus: Is it All in Your Mind?

 

Have you heard about vaginismus? It’s when you can’t have sexual intercourse or put your tampons in your vagina. A sexual disorder, if you wanna call it, yikes! BUT vaginismus is quite common among Asian women. It has been introduced ages ago and many have just recently learned about it. Plus, little amount of research has been done and even available online leading to the lack of awareness.

What is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is the involuntary muscle contraction or tensing around the vagina. Usually, it is caused by signals sent from your brain to your vaginal muscles which causes them to tighten and tense. It is somehow a signal from the brain that your body is in danger therefore the muscle is playing cop to protect the body. So, both the body and mind are simultaneously causing the symptoms of vaginismus.

Source: Flo Health

 

What are the Symptoms?

These unintentional muscle contractions will occur when something such as a finger, tampon, penis or medical instruments attempts to be inserted inside the vagina. This occurrence can be quite painful and uncomfortable because of the spasm that is happening around your muscles. This is when you know that you might be at risk of vaginismus and should consult doctors as soon as possible!

Who can get Vaginismus?

There’s really no research into the exact age of vaginismus. However, female teenagers in their late teens or early adulthood (i.e. 18 - 20 years old), might experience vaginismus. The signs might even occur when you try to have sexual intercourse which can be shocking and unpleasant to some. Moreover, it can also happen when a tampon or pelvic exam is done at the hospital or clinic. However, some can also develop this condition later in their lives. Acknowledging the fact that you have vaginismus can be difficult, and some can even be clueless of what they are actually facing.

What Causes Vaginismus?

The factors to vaginismus can vary from physical to mental. Now that we all know vaginismus can occur among teenagers, you should definitely take these things into account when you’ve reached early menstrual phase:

  • Early surgery
  • Childbirth injuries - vaginal tears
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Fear or negative feelings about sex - can be caused by past sexual traumas

 

How can Vaginismus Affect Your Daily Life?

Unfortunately, vaginismus can affect your sex life and relationship with your partner. It can even affect you mentally which leads to increasing anxiety. Moreover, getting pregnant would be more challenging for you. Therefore, other than the treatment, make sure to find a solid support system including from your partner!

Are There Any Treatments for Vaginismus?

Fret not, vaginismus can be treated and managed by reducing muscle reflex that causes the spasm. The treatments also include dealing with anxiety and fear due to vaginismus. A long-term journey that requires your patience and faith to be cured. However, it will be worth it, so here are some of the treatments:

  • Topical therapy: A cream that help with the pain
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy: A physical therapy to relax the muscles of pelvic floor
  • Vaginal dilator therapy: A tube-shaped device that comes with a topical numbing cream used to stretch the vagina
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): A psychological therapy that helps you to understand how your thoughts can affect your emotions and behaviours.
  • Sex therapy: A sex therapy that helps individuals or couples to find pleasure again in their sexual relationships.

So, is it all in your mind? Necessarily, no. Vaginismus might occur from involuntary thoughts, however the brain is always connected to the body through signals. Hence, the brain can send signals to your pelvic floor to protect yourself from feeling pain during intercourse or penetration. Remember, the body and the mind always correlate with each other!


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