What are the major causes of Vaginismus?
Sneha Annmary Chandy

Sneha Annmary Chandy

Mar 01Vaginismus

What are the major causes of Vaginismus?

Causes Of Vaginismus

Vaginismus is a condition where the muscles around the vagina involuntarily tighten up, making it difficult or painful to insert anything into the vagina. This includes activities like having sex, using tampons or a menstrual cup, or even undergoing a gynaecological exam. The muscle tightening happens without a person wanting it to, and it can feel like the body is involuntarily trying to protect itself from something harmful. This condition can cause significant discomfort and distress, impacting a person's sexual and intimate relationships. It's important to note that vaginismus is not a choice or something a person can control, but it is a treatable condition with the right support and treatment.


There are two main types of vaginismus:

1. Primary Vaginismus: This type of vaginismus is where someone has never been able to have pain-free vaginal penetration, such as during sex or using tampons, since they started trying. It's like their body's muscles around the vagina tighten up involuntarily whenever there's an attempt at penetration. This tightening makes it really uncomfortable or even impossible for anything to be inserted into the vagina. Primary vaginismus can happen because of different reasons, like feeling anxious or fearful about penetration, unresolved trauma, anxiety, or sometimes there might even be physical issues involved. It's important for individuals experiencing primary vaginismus to know that they're not alone and that there are effective treatments available to help them overcome this condition..

2. Secondary Vaginismus: This type of vaginismus is where someone who was once able to have pain-free vaginal penetration, suddenly finds it difficult or even painful. This tightening in the vaginal muscles can happen due to various reasons, like stress, trauma, relationship issues, or medical conditions. Unlike primary vaginismus, where the problem has always been there, secondary vaginismus develops after a period of normal sexual function. It's essential for individuals experiencing secondary vaginismus to seek support and treatment to address the underlying causes and regain comfortable sexual and penetrative function.

To understand this condition better, we need to know the causes and triggers of the occurrence of vaginismus. Vaginismus can have various causes, which can be physical, psychological, or a combination of both:

1. Physical Causes

Some physical factors that can contribute to vaginismus include:

   - Infections or inflammation: Conditions like yeast infections or urinary tract infections can cause discomfort and muscle tightening.

   - Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, can affect vaginal lubrication and muscle tone

   - Trauma or injury: Previous experiences of trauma or injury to the pelvic area, such as childbirth trauma or surgery or even extremely painful periods, can lead to muscle tension.

2. Psychological Causes: 

Psychological factors play a significant role in vaginismus. These can include:

   - Anxiety or fear: Fear of pain, discomfort, or negative experiences related to sex or penetration can lead to involuntary muscle tightening.

   - Stress or emotional trauma: Past experiences of sexual trauma, abuse, unsafe situations, childhood trauma or emotional distress can trigger vaginismus as a protective response.

   - Relationship issues: Relationship conflicts, communication problems, or feelings of pressure from a partner can also contribute to vaginismus.


3. Negative Sexual Beliefs: Cultural or religious beliefs, societal attitudes towards sex, or negative messages about sexuality received during upbringing can contribute to vaginismus. They influence beliefs and attitudes towards sex, thereby making the mind and body believe that sex is a shameful act, leading to a protective response carried out during penetration.


4. Painful Sexual Experiences: Previous experiences of pain or discomfort during sexual activities, such as rough intercourse, inadequate lubrication or arousal, can create a fear of pain and lead to vaginismus.

It's important to recognize that vaginismus is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, and individuals may experience a combination of these factors. Seeking support from healthcare professionals, such as gynaecologists, mental health therapists, and pelvic floor physiotherapists, can help identify the underlying causes and develop an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs.

Treating vaginismus involves a variety of approaches that address both the physical and psychological aspects of the condition:

  • Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy: Working with a specialised physical therapist to learn techniques to relax and control the pelvic floor muscles is necessary so that penetration can happen without muscles contracting which is what causes the discomfort.

  • Counselling and Psychotherapy: Addressing any underlying psychological factors such as anxiety, trauma, or relationship issues through counselling or psychotherapy is required to be done, so the mind and body can be more comfortable with penetration. 

  • Gradual Exposure and Desensitization: Guided by a physiotherapist or a vaginismus coach, the individual is gradually exposed to vaginal penetration using techniques like graduated vaginal trainers or dilators to reduce fear and anxiety. 

  • Supportive Partner Involvement: Involving a supportive partner in therapy can create a safe environment to work through challenges.

By combining these approaches, individuals with vaginismus can effectively address both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition, leading to improved comfort and enjoyment of sexual activities.

Healing vaginismus is profoundly important as it directly impacts an individual's physical comfort, emotional well-being, and quality of life. Additionally, untreated vaginismus can strain relationships, leading to communication breakdowns and emotional distress. By seeking treatment and overcoming vaginismus, individuals can experience a profound sense of relief and empowerment. They gain control over their bodies and sexuality, fostering a positive self-image and improved self-esteem. Moreover, healing vaginismus allows for the restoration of intimacy and emotional connection within relationships, leading to enhanced overall relationship satisfaction.

Our comprehensive Online Vaginismus Healing Program offers personalised treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, incorporating a holistic approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of vaginismus. Through pelvic floor relaxation, counselling, gradual exposure techniques, and ongoing support, we empower you to overcome vaginismus and enjoy comfortable and fulfilling sexual experiences. If you feel like you need offline support, our pelvic health physiotherapists are available both online and offline to guide you through healing. Don't let vaginismus hold you back any longer – take the first step towards healing by joining our program today.