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Vaginismus

Vaginismus is when the vagina suddenly tightens up when you try to insert something into it.

The main symptom of vaginismus is the muscles of your vagina suddenly tightening up if you try to have sex or put something into it, like a tampon.

Treatments for vaginismus include talking therapy, relaxation techniques and pelvic floor exercises.

Vaginismus does not always have an obvious cause. Sometimes it can be caused by things like fear your vagina is too small or a bad sexual experience.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of vaginismus is the muscles of your vagina suddenly tightening up if you try to have sex or put something into it, like a tampon.

See a GP or go to a sexual health clinic if:

These are common signs of vaginismus.

Read more on the NHS website.

Treatments for vaginismus include talking therapy, relaxation techniques and pelvic floor exercises.

Medical treatments

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.

Surgery

Sometimes vaginismus is mistaken for a physical problem with your vagina, which can lead to needless surgery. Very few cases of vaginismus require surgery.

Read more on the NHS website.

Vaginismus does not always have an obvious cause. Sometimes it can be caused by things like fear your vagina is too small or a bad sexual experience.

Read more on the NHS website.