Vaginismus is an involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of vaginal penetration. It affects a woman’s ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration.  

Just like any muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles can go into spasm. And just like any other muscle spasm, just telling it to ‘relax’, won’t usually fix the problem.

Millions of women suffer silently from pelvic floor disorders and don’t mention their symptoms to health professionals because they are embarrassed or because they don’t know help is available. 

I have also heard countless times of women being dismissed by their GP or gynaecologist and told to simply use lubrication or ‘relax’ during intercourse. In fact many women with vaginismus have seen multiple doctors or specialists before they are actually directed to someone that can help. 

Although the exact incidence is unknown it is estimated that about 10% of women will experience pain during sex.

Common symptoms of vaginismus

  • Difficult or impossible penetration, feeling blocked or like ‘hitting a brick wall’ 
  • Burning or stinging with tightness during sex
  • Pain or discomfort with initial penetration 
  • Feeling too small or too tight
  • Avoidance of sex due to pain and/or failure
  • Some women may experience difficulty inserting tampons or undergoing a pelvic/gynaecological exam

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is the first-line treatment for vaginismus. 

If you have any of the above symptoms, I would recommend you see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. This is a physiotherapist who has undertaken specialised training in this area, is able to assess your pelvic floor and provide you with treatment and advice to help with this condition.

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