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Vaginismus is an involuntary vaginal problem. It affects the womans abilities to take part in various vaginal penetrations, such as a pelvic exam or sexual intercourse. Studies show that the spontaneous muscle spasm of the vagina may cause vaginismus. Experts believe that it is caused by the numerous factors of a womans life. For instance, psychological factors, discomforts with sexual intercourse, overwork, past abuse or trauma, depression, and alcoholic problems may cause vaginismus. Currently, medical experts are performing various researches to find out the main responsible muscle for the vaginal spasm. They assume that the disorder of pubococcygeus, levator ani, or perivaginal muscles can cause the painful spasm of the vagina (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009). The following paper analyzes the main causes and the symptoms of vaginismus. Also, it provides the diagnosis and treatment methods that can reduce or prevent the dysfunction.
Vaginismus is a persistent difficulty of women to allow vaginal entries. Often, it is caused by the psychological or physical issues. If a woman suffers from such problem, then she cannot consciously control the muscle spasm. Experts define vaginismus in two categories. They are primary and secondary vaginismus (Eserdag, Zufikaroglu, Akarsu, & Micozkadioglu, 2011).
Main Factors and Causes of Primary and Secondary Vaginismus
Usually, primary vaginismus is discovered in the women of early twenties. Studies show that the attempts to use tampons or to have penetrative sex may cause primary vaginismus. Women with such problems may be unaware of their conditions until they undergo vaginal penetrations. A research proved that various physical factors may cause this disorder. For example, sexual abuse, assaults, or other physical abuses can cause primary vaginismus. In addition, urinary tract infections, chronic pains, vaginal yeast infections, and physically invasive traumas may cause vaginal contractions. Also, psychological stress, negative emotions, and fear of pain may initiate vaginismus. For instance, sometimes, women suffer from domestic conflicts and violence. As a result, they create negative emotional reactions towards sexual intercourse (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009). Besides, the fear of pain during the penetration and harm avoidance behaviors may contract vaginal muscles. Medical experiments show that vaginismus has various stages. Usually, in first stage patients do not feel much pain. It can create minor discomfort, but this discomfort diminishes during the sexual intercourse. On the second and third stages, vaginismus can cause pain during the vaginal entry and movement. Furthermore, it can create visceral reactions in extreme conditions. For example, severe pain may cause losing consciousness, hypertension, shaking or trembling, and vomiting (Crowley, Richardson, & Goldmeier, 2005). Medical expert, Lamont classified vaginismus in four degrees. In the first degree, a patient may have contraction of pelvic, and it can be relieved by the reassurance process. In the second degree, spasm may initiate, but it can be maintained by pelvis through reassurance. These two degrees are common and minor. However, Lamont considers the third and fourth degrees are severe, because in these cases a patient elevates buttocks to avoid pain, and it can cause extreme situations (Eserdag, Zufikaroglu, Akarsu, & Micozkadioglu, 2011). Moreover, the research shows that women can develop secondary vaginismus in the childbirth process. In some conditions, a woman may have trauma or yeast infection during the delivery. As a result, she can have vaginal muscle contractions. Also, various psychological and physical issues may initiate secondary vaginismus. For example, extensive self-consciousness about body image, denied sexuality, misconceptions about sex, and fear of losing control may cause various sexual dysfunctions and vaginal issues. Medical experts have found that the drying of vaginal tissues and the vulva may reduce estrogen in the womans body. As a result, it commences sexual pain, and then it develops secondary vaginismus (Crowley, Richardson, & Goldmeier, 2005).
Diagnosis and Treatment
Often, women suspect that they are suffering from vaginismus by identifying its symptoms. However, medical confirmations of this issue are complicated and challenging. Moreover, scientists have not found an appropriate medical test yet to identify vaginismus. So, it may take a long time to diagnose the issue (Eserdag, Zufikaroglu, Akarsu, & Micozkadioglu, 2011). Furthermore, the pelvic exam helps doctors identify vaginal muscle spasm. In this exam, physicians analyze medical and sexual histories of patients through various medical procedures. Also, patients should explain about their specific problems and their locations, such as tightness or burning of specific areas in the vagina. The information guides physicians to find effective solutions for vaginismus. Also, doctors should take a balanced approach to analyzing and reviewing the history of the patient. Sometimes, patients may have memories that involuntarily cause sexual issues. Therefore, physicians take individual approaches to solving the vaginal issues. In addition, medical experts suggest that a woman should take medical help in a short time if she feels pain in the vagina during sexual intercourse. Otherwise, it may cause severe health issues in future (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009).
Moreover, medical scholars have limited evidence to analyze the effectiveness of vaginismus treatments. Therefore, they need to compare various therapies to improve a patients health (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009). In addition, the research shows that systematic desensitization method has the highest success rate in vaginal issues. According to the study of medical experts, Nasab and Farnoosh, specific psychological effects may initiate vaginismus. For instance, particular beliefs that sex is wrong or fear of painful sex and various traumatic childhood sexual experiences may cause psychological issues about sex. In such situations, women should take help from psychologists (Nasab & Farnoosh, 2003). Besides, a patient with physical causes of vaginismus may suffer from emotional difficulties. Patients can develop relationship issues, depression, fear of penetration, and low self-esteem. Also, experts found that sensate focusing is an effective tool for couples who have issues with their physical appearance. The technique guides women to get a relief from vaginismus in specific cases. For example, incorrect knowledge about sex, trust issues, or worries about sexual performance and orgasm. Sensate focusing technique guides couples to create comfort and sensations during sexual arousals. Hence, it reduces pain and the chances of vaginal contraction (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009). Furthermore, this technique is suitable for practicing at home. Therefore, strict religious or cultural believers can also use sensate focusing technique. Also, studies show that women should avoid negative emotions about sex, because it often causes vaginal muscle spasm. For instance, shyness, negative association with genitals, and the fear of inadequacy can initiate primary vaginismus. If a woman develops such emotions, then she can take help from the therapist or psychologist. Also, women can learn about various exercises that reduce stress and anxiety. Physicians suggest patients learning about their bodies sexual functions, anatomy, and various causes of pelvic pain or penetration problem (Nasab & Farnoosh, 2003). In some situations, inner vaginal pains may create confusions in achieving effective diagnosis reports. Therefore, women should educate themselves to understand the actions of sexual body parts. Patients can gather such information to get self-help. Besides, anatomy guide books can help women gather more knowledge about the inner vulva and hymen (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009).
In addition, medical experts suggest that patients can get self-help in vaginismus by applying various effective techniques. For instance, women can apply insertion techniques to get a relief from involuntary muscle contractions. In this technique, women may allow a small swab or tampon to enter the vagina. Moreover, patients should apply insertion technique slowly to avoid pain. This technique may help women flex the pelvic floor. Also, it eliminates unwanted tightness of the vagina (Crowley, Goldmeier, & Hiller, 2009). Besides, physical therapists can help patients get a relief from vaginismus. Usually, physiotherapists use external and internal modalities of treatments to develop a patients health. The treatment helps palpate internal muscles of the vagina. Also, it accesses other connective tissues that may cause pain due to the contractions (Crowley, Richardson, & Goldmeier, 2005). Moreover, vaginal dilator instruments help professionals improve the treatment. Such instrument stretches and opens the tissues. Furthermore, gynecologists suggest patients practicing Kegel exercises and applying effective lubricants. Likewise, physicians suggest patients using botulinum toxin for primary vaginismus treatment. The research shows that it temporarily reduces hypertonicity of pelvic muscles (Ghazizadeh & Nikazad, 2004).
In conclusion, vaginismus is a vaginal problem that causes pain in the vagina during sexual intercourse. It can reduce or restrict the abilities of a woman to take part in vaginal penetrations. Involuntary muscle contractions of vagina may initiate this dysfunction. Vaginismus is divided into two categories. They are primary and secondary vaginismus. Usually, the penetrative sex or the use of tampons may cause primary vaginismus. In primary conditions, women may be unaware of their vaginal problems, but it may cause severe issues during sexual intercourse. Moreover, psychological and physical problems may develop vaginismus to a woman. Often, negative emotions, psychological stress, and various fears may cause vaginal muscle contractions. Furthermore, if a woman becomes the victim of physical abuses, including domestic violence, rape, and other conflicts, then she can face various disorders in sexual life. Besides, severe vaginismus can cause hypertension, loss of consciousness, and shaking or trembling. However, women can reduce or get a relief from this disorder by following various diagnostic methods and treatments. Usually, pelvic exam helps physicians check sexual and medical histories of the patients. Likewise, the patients should cooperate with doctors to find out the exact location of the pain. Also, in primary vaginismus cases, patients can apply self-help techniques. These techniques may help a woman flex her pelvic floor. Thus, patients and medical experts can prevent vaginismus.
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