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Pelvic Pain: Vaginismus

Vaginismus is an involuntary, instantaneous tightening (spasm) of the muscles of the pelvic floor. This spasm causes the vaginal opening to become constricted making penetration painful or impossible. A woman may have always had this condition or she may have lost penetration ability after a trauma such as infection, injury, surgery, abuse, or high stress situations.

If you answer 'yes' to any of the following questions, you may have vaginismus.

  • Are you unable to insert a finger, tampon, or medicine applicator into your vagina?
  • Are you unable to have a pelvic exam without pain?
  • Are you unable to have intercourse, or are you unable to have intercourse with out pain?

Do you have complaints of:

  • Sharp pains in the vagina?
  • Pinching, pressure or tightening in the vagina?
  • Radiating pain into the abdomen or groin?
  • Rectal pain, especially with a bowel movement?
  • Lack of sexual interest?

The pain associated with vaginismus is not "in the woman's head" and it does not respond readily to suggestions such as "relax - don't think about it," and "just do it." Although laboratory tests tend to come back negative and medications for depression/anxiety/panic disorders often do not resolve the problem, vaginismus is a 'real' physical pain that needs psychophysical intervention for diffusing the fear of penetration.

At ORTHOPEDIC & TMJ PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER, we establish a safe environment to discuss your concerns. With your physician's referral, we discuss your options for physical therapy treatment. These options may include biofeedback, manual therapies, massage, exercise, and use of dilators. Sessions are one hour in length, and you should anticipate at least six weekly sessions.

Secrecy and silence about having this condition is typical of most vaginismus sufferers and is the main reason they feel that they suffer alone. At ORTHOPEDIC & TMJ PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER, we understand this condition and enjoy working to educate women in a safe, caring environment. Please call us.