Can Vaginismus Be Cured Vaginismus Treatment Options

Can Vaginismus Be Cured? | Vaginismus Treatment Options

What is Vaginismus and Can Vaginismus Be Cured?

Vaginismus, medically classified as a genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, is a condition when the muscles of the vaginal opening involuntarily contract thus making vaginal penetrations – finger, menstrual insertables (tampons), pelvic exam, vaginal ultrasound, sexual intercourse – painful or impossible. Watch our video for a more in-depth explanation, What is Vaginismus?

There are two types of Vaginismus: Primary Vaginismus and Secondary Vaginismus. Vaginismus has a significant impact on a woman’s sexual and emotional well-being, as well as on her intimate relationship and dating choices.

Vaginismus can be either

  • Primary: the woman has always struggled with it, or
  • Secondary: the woman had no issue with vaginal penetration until a disruptive life event, i.e., surgery, trauma, cancer treatment, menopause, Lichen Sclerosus, episiotomy, vaginal infection, sexually transmitted infection, emotional crisis, etc.

What Are the Causes of Primary Vaginismus?

Vaginismus is not a structural problem but rather always an anxiety-based condition, which makes diagnosis and treatment all more challenging and complicated.  To say it differently, vaginismus is a symptom of an underlying anxiety condition.  Read more here.

Not all women with anxiety will develop vaginismus, but every vaginismus case has anxiety as an undertone.  Most will also exhibit any combination of panic, rumination, OCD, and depression, emotional conditions that women are either not aware of, or are reluctant to face.

How Common is Vaginismus?

Vaginismus continues to be a hidden problem, one that is suffered in silence, and often missed by healthcare professionals. Consequently, actual numbers of sufferers are hard to come by.  That said, our full-time vaginismus practice has been in operation since 1996, with thousands of women treated, and continual incoming requests for treatment from women from around the world.  In other words, vaginismus is common and will continue to be around for as long as vaginal anxiety is present…

Can Vaginismus Be Cured?

Yes, vaginismus can be cured and there is no reason to settle for a life with this devastating condition.

In mild cases, a cure can be achieved through self-treatment if you can recognize symptoms of vaginismus. Otherwise, a cure can be had by engaging a healthcare professional who addresses the body-mind, and the anxiety-vagina connection in a systematic manner, with knowledge and skill that is based on clinical outcome.

Treatment Options for Vaginismus

When seeking treatment for vaginismus, women are divided into:

  • Those who self-treat with education, encouragement, and/or self-help dilator kits obtained from their doctors, counselors, the Internet, sex shops, etc.
  • Those who cannot self-treat, those not successful with self-treatment, and those who opt for professional help upon diagnosis.

Seek Cognitive Therapy And Coaching

Psychotherapy in any form, be it cognitive therapy, individual therapy, coaching, etc., is most helpful for anxiety diagnosis and management and in this case, treating vaginismus.  However, it may not be sufficient for curing vaginismus when the anxiety has settled in the vagina and that is when a ‘body clinician’ needs to be brought into onto the team to complement with physical vaginal work.

Pelvic Floor Therapy And Exercises

Pelvic floor physical therapy is valuable for teaching the woman with vaginismus about her genitals and the stress response system, as well as introducing and monitoring dilation therapy (more below), and explaining genital hygiene. Pelvic floor therapy is a specialized type of physical therapy that helps strengthen and improve your pelvic floor muscles, and thus your vaginal muscles.

As to vaginismus exercise, there are none per se.  Contrary to common advice, doing Kegel exercises is totally ineffective for vaginismus management and neither are core exercises and various stretches because they do not address the psychosomatic nature of vaginismus, and because the vagina is designed to work automatically, without any training or conditioning.

Vaginal Dilators and Dilator Therapy

One of the most common tools for addressing vaginismus is the use of vaginal dilators. Dilators are devices inserted into the vagina to help desensitize the reflexive tightening of vaginismus. Dilators are used for self-help or as a vital component of a professional vaginismus program.   Read more about dilators here.

While dilators alone can be helpful in mild cases, their ability to provide the ultimate solution to vaginismus is limited when the anxiety is not simultaneously addressed and managed. However, with the right support and assistance, vaginismus is treatable using dilator therapy.

Tips on Managing Vaginismus Symptoms

Living with vaginismus can be challenging, but there are coping strategies that can be helpful, such as:

  • Communicating with your partner: Having open and honest communication with your partner about your condition can help to reduce feelings of embarrassment and guilt. It can also help your partner to understand the condition and how they can support you.
  • Finding a support group: Joining a support group can provide a sense of community and a space to discuss your experiences and learn from others who are going through similar struggles.
  • Prioritizing self-care: Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being to maintain optimal self-confidence – you are still a great person, albeit with vaginismus!
  • Seeking professional help: Do not hesitate to speak with a healthcare provider about treatment, resources, other specialists they may know who can help, etc. The more you expand your orbit, the greater the likelihood of finding a solution.

Check out our recent blog post, Navigating Life With Vaginismus for more tips on overcoming vaginismus.

Talk to a Professional Who Will Help You Cure Vaginismus

It is not just about the vagina’s involuntary reaction that is reacting to the stress of penetration or fear of pain; it is not just about the panic and anxiety in the head; it is about fusing both into a comprehensive methodology of psychosomatic nature.  Such an approach will address vaginismus at its core and bring about a cure for painful intercourse.

Ultimately, if you can self-cure – own ALL vaginal penetration pain-free –  good for you!  But if you cannot or would not even attempt to try, consider yourself in good company with many others and seek expert professional help.

Having treated over 2250 vaginismus cases to date (Spring 2024), there is no reason to live with vaginismus or to settle for a life with vaginismus.

We offer in-person as well as online treatment programs to suit any need. We also offer a free 15-min Zoom chat if you wish to inquire that way so do not hesitate to Contact Us.

About The Author

Dr. Ditza Katz

Ditza Katz, PT, Ph.D., is the founder of Women’s Therapy Center, a practice specializing in urogynecologic rehabilitation, treatment of female sexual dysfunction, breast & female cancer rehabilitation, and management of somatic disorders. Dr. Katz holds an undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy, a Master’s degree in Pastoral Psychology & Counseling, a doctorate in Clinical Sexology, and clinical training in manual therapy and urogynecology. Dr. Katz is a Diplomate with the American Board of Sexology, Professor at the American Academy of Clinical Sexology located in Orlando, Florida, and the only physical therapist in the USA who is a clinical sexologist.

Scroll to Top