Vaginismus is a condition where a individual’s vagina contracts in a way that prevents penetration. These contractions are involuntary. In other words, someone who has vaginismus isn’t trying to contract their vaginal muscles. Those muscles put on their own. This contraction often makes any attempt at penetration–with fingers, a penis, or a sex toy– either painful or even impossible.
The consequences of vaginismus can also be debilitating in their own. They could make it impossible to experience a gynecological exam.
Doctors do not fully understand why people develop vaginismus. It is more common in girls who have experienced sexual assaults and other traumas. It’s also more prevalent in individuals who have experienced a rigorous sexual upbringing. In other words, for some folks there looks like a connection between vaginismus and dread or anxiety about sex. However, in addition, there are physical causes of vaginismus. Vaginismus can also be correlated with a variety of health conditions that can result in pain during penetration. These include certain STDs and pelvic health problems in addition to the organic changes related to menopause.
Historically, studies have suggested that medical and mental therapies work similarly for people with vaginismus. This does not indicate that vaginismus is”all in someone’s head.” What it means is that some of the body’s reactions to anxiety and pain can be changed through behavioral practices.
Often, psychological treatments for vaginismus are provided by sex therapists or alternative sexual caregivers. But, general work on anxiety reduction can be helpful in some cases where vaginismus is relatively mild.
Using Botox to Treat Vaginismus
1 exciting area of sexual health research is in using Botox to treat vaginismus.
Botox is commonly thought of as a dressing table medication, due to its usage for reducing facial lines. But, Botox, short for botulinum toxin, can also be utilized to treat numerous chronic pain conditions. This is only because Botox paralyzes the muscles to which it is injected. This prevents them from contracting–either consciously or unconsciously. That’s why Botox is helpful for preventing wrinkles–people can not transfer their faces. It’s also why it’s used for chronic pain conditions like TMJ (jaw pain), headaches, bladder pain, and vaginismus. Reducing tension in the debatable muscles also reduces strain.
Botox can cause significant side effects. Therefore, it is not normally the first line of therapy for vaginismus. But some individuals are reluctant or unable to experience other vaginismus treatments. For them, Botox treatment can have a positive effect. Utilizing Botox to treat vaginismus involves several injections of this drug. Botox is injected into several areas of the bulbospongiosis muscle. This is the muscle that wraps around the entrance to the vagina. Additional shots might be used to relax different muscles, if they are contributing to the vaginal spasms.
Botox treatment is generally not done on its own.
On the contrary, it is frequently combined with psychotherapy and the use of dilators so people may become comfortable with penetration. The Botox injections last for between 2 and 4 months. On the other hand, the effects of the treatment could last more than that. This is likely because of a mix of anxiety loss and retraining of the muscles. The Botox provides the initial relaxation and lack of pain on penetration that allows the body to become used to the senses without tensing up.
Side effects of using Botox to treat vaginismus can include urinary incontinence and blurry vision.
Other Vaginismus Treatments
In addition to Botox, there are many other common remedies for vaginismus.
These include other forms of shots, physical therapy, systematic desensitization to the strain of penetration, hypnotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Systematic desensitization uses dilators to gradually increase an individual’s ability to tolerate penetration. This may be achieved by a doctor or from the individual, under the verbal direction of a doctor or therapist.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, for both individuals and couples, generally uses a treatment manual. It can be utilized as part of group or individual treatment. So far, the evidence for the effectiveness of those treatments is combined. Many people appear to be helped with these remedies. However, the studies are often small and of low quality.
Interestingly, one study revealed that the cause of vaginismus doesn’t necessarily relate to how successful different kinds of therapy are. Cases of vaginismus related to both medical and mental triggers responded similarly nicely to both clinical and mental therapies. This implies that focusing on fixing the painful contractions vaginismus causes may sometimes be more useful than trying to identify their triggers.
A Word From Verywell
Should you experience pain during sex, it can be tricky to find help. Not all physicians are comfortable talking about sexual health issues. Nor are all people comfortable talking to their physicians. One option is looking for a sexual health professional. This may be either a medical doctor or a behavioral health professional. Specialists aren’t only good sources of advice. They are also skilled at helping individuals get comfortable discussing the often uncomfortable subject of sex.
People are sometimes worried about what gender therapy entails. It is not hands on work. Rather, sex therapists offer education about the human body and how people can become more operational sexually. This can consist of homework exercises performed independently or with a sexual partner. When seeing a sex therapist, usually you will also be sent to a physician to explore any medical issues that may be contributing to your pain. The physician and sex therapist can work together to help you solve your concerns.
There’s a truth that is not said often enough. Sex should not be something that you dread because of pain. Pain is a indication that there is something which has to be happening differently. At times it’s simply changing positions or adding lubricants. Other times improvement will take more work. Only know that there are things that could be done to make sex less painful and more pleasurable. If that is something you need, reach out to a professional. Making any necessary modifications isn’t always easy. However, they may be extremely lucrative.