Treatment usually focuses on:
- managing your feelings around penetration
- exercises to gradually get you used to penetration
Possible treatment: Psychosexual therapy
What treatment covers: A type of talking therapy that aims to help you understand and change your feelings about your body and sex
Possible treatment: Relaxation techniques
What treatment covers: Mindfulness, breathing and gentle touching exercises to help you learn to relax the vaginal muscles
Possible treatment: Pelvic floor exercises
What treatment covers: Squeezing and releasing exercises to gain control of the vaginal muscles
Possible treatment: Sensate focus
What treatment covers: Exercises to help with your relaxation during sex and increase your sex drive (libido)
Possible treatment: Vaginal trainers
What treatment covers: Tampon-shaped objects in different sizes to help you gradually get used to having something put into your vagina
Treatment is initially done under the guidance of specialised therapists. You'll then usually be expected to practise some of the exercises at home.
If you're in a relationship, you can choose to involve your partner.
Treatment usually works and you may see progress in a matter of weeks.
Sometimes vaginismus is mistaken for a physical problem with your vagina, which can lead to needless surgery. Very few cases of vaginismus require surgery.