Contributing Factors of Vaginismus

Vaginismus is due to involuntary tightening of the muscles in the vagina, these women have no control over it and also do not realise that this is happening. Therefore, for most women, vaginismus comes completely unexpected. It is like an automatic reflex, similar to the fact that when blowing into someone's eyes, it causes the eyelids to shut.

VaginismusAll the muscles in the human body learn progressively how to behave appropriately. For example, when babies learn to walk it requires attention focus and effort, however slowly it becomes an automatic response, which does not require any conscious focus. Similarly, the muscles in the vagina of a woman with Vaginismus have unconsciously learned an automatic response to penetration, which is to spasm. So these muscles have, for some reason, developed a memory that penetration is not desirable and should not be allowed.

It is important to remember that Vaginismus is not due to a physical abnormality of the genitals. Woman with Vaginismus have normal vaginas and they are not too small to fit a penis.

Generally woman with Vaginismus seem to have some unhealthy sexual messages that result in the reflex of these muscles. These messages can be conscious or unconscious.

Potential contributing factors are:

  • Fear of penetration, which can rise to levels of a phobia
  • Fear of pregnancy
  • Fear of pain
  • Lack of sex education
  • Past sexual abuse
  • Past sexual trauma
  • Negative sexual attitudes
  • Parental fears
  • High anxiety
  • Religious background
  • Violence
  • Abusive partner
  • Difficulty to trust
  • Fear of commitment

Vaginismus can co-exist with various medical conditions. Vaginismus can also continue to be present even after a medical condition has been treated. It is important to rule out any of these medical conditions.

Some of these medical conditions or additional causes of sexual pain, dyspareunia, are:

  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Urinary Tract Infection/Interstitial Cystitis
  • Vulvodynia
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Genital/Pelvic Tumors
  • Vaginal Atrophy
  • Vaginal Dryness/ Inadequate Lubrication
  • Childbirth trauma
  • Vulvar Cancer
  • Vaginal Infections
  • STIs
  • Skin conditions, such as Eczema/Psoriasis
 

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