DESCRIPTIONVaginismus is spasm of the muscles around the opening to the vagina. The muscles surrounding the vagina and the muscles of the lower vagina are involved. Vaginismus affects females of all ages.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Doctor's treatment. Your doctor or nurse will probably teach your daughter how to dilate the vaginal opening gently and gradually with rubber or glass dilators. Office treatments will probably be necessary 3 times a week, and your daughter should practice at home at least twice a day.
Psychotherapy or counseling, if medical treatment is unsuccessful.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Involuntary contraction of the muscles around the vagina and rectum. The vagina closes so tightly that the penis cannot penetrate for sexual intercourse.
CAUSESAn unconscious desire to prevent penile penetration because of emotional or psychological factors. These may include fear, anxiety, hostility, anger, or a distaste for sex.
An insensitive sexual partner, insufficient or unskillful foreplay, or inadequate vaginal lubrication prior to attempted penetration.
Physical disorders (rare), such as infections, allergic reactions, or a rigid, non-perforated hymen.
RISK FACTORSFirst sexual experiences.
Previous sexual trauma.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEPelvic examination by a doctor and counseling prior to your daughter beginning sexual activity.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Psychological trauma caused by guilt, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy, or interpersonal problems resulting from the disorder.
Painful intercourse for sexual partner.
Usually curable if the underlying cause can be cured or a coping method can be developed for your daughter through medical treatment and psychological counseling.
HOME CAREInstructions for your sexually active daughter:
Learn dilation techniques and practice twice daily at home.
Prior to dilation exercises or attempted intercourse, sit in a tub of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Baths often relax muscles and relieve discomfort. Repeat baths as often as is helpful.
Before attempting intercourse, you and your partner should use a lubricant, such as K-Y Lubricating Jelly or baby oil.
MEDICATIONMedicine is usually not necessary for vaginismus, but your doctor may prescribe mild sedatives or tranquilizers for your daughter for short periods of time.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite returns and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your daughter has symptoms of vaginismus.
Symptoms don't improve after 3 weeks, despite treatment.
Symptoms recur after treatment.