- Are you a woman that experiences pain simply using tampons?
- Is a gynaecological exam or pap smear with your GP painful for you?
- Does intercourse cause pain and discomfort?
Then you may be one of the many women who experience vaginismus. Vaginismus affects 1 in 10 women!! It is surprising how little it is spoken about considering how many women it can affect.
Like many women’s health conditions, we often simply suffer in silence, too embarrassed to seek help or try to assume that these issues are a normal part of being a woman and simply put up with it.
If you have these symptoms, including painful sex, it is worth knowing there is caring and expert help available to you here at Synergy Physio with our women’s health team.
But lets start by understanding what Vaginismus is and a few tips that might start to help you.
What is Vaginismus?
Vaginismus is the term given to pain about the vagina (deep or about the entrance) during intercourse, or any time something is inserted into the vagina (a speculum during a pap smear or tampons for example). Involuntary contraction and tightening of the pelvic floor muscles contribute to the onset of pain. Women who sufferer with this describe sharp, stabbing, dull or throbbing pains about the vagina or bowel, lasting a few minutes for some women and days for others. Pain is often worse with exercise and isn’t eased by normal pain medications.
What causes Vaginismus?
There are many causes or ‘triggers’ for the onset of this type of pain including childbirth, thrush infection, endometriosis, urinary tract infections (UTI), hip or back injury, trauma and/or menopause. Each woman’s journey and the causes for the onset of their symptoms can be unique and individual, which is why it is important to have an individual assessment with a caring and professional women’s health physio to guide you toward a solution that’s tailored specifically to you.
For some women, vaginismus pain settles without any specific treatment within a few weeks of onset but for a wide range of women pain can become a persistent and constant problem that starts to affect their quality of life!
What can I do to help my symptoms of vaginismus?
Here are my top 5 tips for managing and CURING vaginismus!!
- See a specialised women’s health physiotherapist to help the pelvic floor muscles re-learn how to relax and move normally. This needs individual assessment in a private consultation to determine the causes that are specific to you and then a management pathway forward together with the help of your women’s health physio
- Keep moving, but avoid exercises that hurt you. Your muscles are already tight and painful, and core-strength exercises such as Pilates/ ab workouts may actually aggravate the pain! Continue regular gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming and gentle relaxing yoga.
- Explain to your partner that you should avoid vaginal penetration until the pain improves and also stop using tampons.
- Get treatment for other causes of pain so there is less need to hold muscles tightly. Particularly if you have hip, pelvis or back pain. Go for that massage. Make a physiotherapist appointment!
- Use a heat pack or take a hot bath when the pain is severe. Heat can be a wonderful muscle relaxant.
Remember there is a solution to these problems, they are common issues that are often never spoken about. Our women’s health physio team have helped hundreds of woman just like you- so don’t suffer in silence.
About Rebecca- Rebecca Reiss is passionate about caring for women’s health concerns during and after pregnancy and also into menopause. She has expertise in the management for pelvic floor problems and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Synergy Physio team. Her caring and professional nature will support you toward improving your health, your pelvic floor function and help you get back to doing the things you love. Don’t suffer in silence- contact us today.