Vaginismus

Definition of Vaginismus

Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vagina. The spasms close the vagina.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Vaginismus is considered a disorder of sexual dysfunction. It has several possible causes, including past sexual trauma or abuse, psychological factors, or a history of discomfort with sexual intercourse. Sometimes no cause can be found.

Signs and tests

A pelvic exam can confirm the diagnosis of vaginismus. A medical history and complete physical exam is important to rule out other causes of pain with sexual intercourse ().

Treatment

Treatment involves extensive therapy that combines education, counseling, and behavioral exercises. Such exercises include pelvic floor muscle contraction and relaxation (Kegel exercises).

Expectations (prognosis)

When treated by a specialist in sex therapy, success rates are generally very high.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/23/2010

Female reproductive anatomy
Causes of painful intercourse
Uterus
Female reproductive anatomy (mid-sagittal)

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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