Ask an expert series is a space for you to get answers to all your questions. Have a question you’ve been wondering about? Ask here.
I have vaginismus, and it makes sex really hard both physically and emotionally. It also makes it hard to go for exams. I’m wondering if you have any resources you can share with me about how to go about feeling less anxious and physically relaxing enough to enjoy sex and to take care of myself the way I should be with preventative exams.
There are several treatments that work very well for treating vaginismus.
The first thing to do is make sure there isn’t an actual medical condition such as infection or skin condition that may be causing the sensation of pain. If that has been ruled out, look to see if you can work with a pelvic floor focused physical therapist to loosen the muscles around the vagina. There are exercises you can do and also devices called “dilators” that can be placed in the vagina, often with numbing medicine so that they cause less pain. In cases of perimenopause/menopause, dryness and thinning of the tissue in and around the vagina can cause pain which may be treated with vaginal estrogen that comes in creams, suppositories, tablets, or as a flexible ring.
If you haven’t already, discuss these options with your GYN or women’s health provider. They may be able to help you or refer you to providers in your area trained specifically in this type of care.
LOLA has a great article all about vaginismus here.