Vaginismus or vaginism is a condition found in women who are unable to engage in vaginal penetration during sexual intercourse or during gynecologicalexamination (and use tampons and menstrual cups due to severe involuntary muscle cramps in the vaginal area.

Women having vaginismus cannot control their spasms and thus experience immense pain during vaginal penetration. The reflex is akin to an eye shutting when an object comes towards it.

Types of Vaginismus

There are different types of vaginismus affecting women of different ages, and the most common ones are listed below:

  • Primary vaginismus: This condition is present throughout the life of a woman and it gets difficult for her to use tampons or undergo any gynecological examination. Especially during her first intercourse, the woman feels immense pain and the man is unable to insert the penis into the vagina. Women experience pain, generalized spasms and also have difficulty in breathing.
  • Secondary vaginismus: This condition occurs after a woman has had a regular sexual function. Secondary vaginismus is triggered by some sort of infection, menopause, surgery, perimenopause and childbirth.
  • Global vaginismus: Global vaginismus is a condition where vaginismus has always been present in the woman and can be triggered by any object.
  • Situational vaginismus: Situational vaginismus occurs only in certain situations such as sexual intercourse. Vaginal spasms may not be present during tampon insertion or gynecological tests.

Vaginismus can affect any woman and it can be triggered generally due to fear, anxiety, childhood experiences or traumatic events in life. Women may be scared of the pain during sexual intercourse or pregnancy or could have been victims of sexual abuse that emotionally and physically shuts them from experiencing vaginal penetration. Kegel exercises help to relax the muscles to a great extent.

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