Treatment usually focuses on:
- managing your feelings around penetration
- exercises to gradually get you used to penetration
Possible treatments: Psychosexual therapy
Details: A type of talking therapy that aims to help you understand and change your feelings about your body and sex
Possible treatments: Relaxation techniques
Details: Mindfulness, breathing and gentle touching exercises to help you learn to relax the vaginal muscles
Possible treatments: Pelvic floor exercises
Details: Squeezing and releasing exercises to gain control of the vaginal muscles
Possible treatments: Sensate focus
Details: Exercises to help with your relaxation during sex and increase your sex drive (libido)
Possible treatments: Vaginal trainers
Details: Smooth tampon-shaped objects in different sizes to help you gradually get used to having something inserted 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 is usually effective 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.