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Vaginismus, the perpetuating cycle.


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Hey everyone!


As the title suggests, I have vaginismus. If you don't know, it's the involuntary contraction of the vaginal walls upon attempts of penetration. (This goes for sex, pelvic exams, and sometimes even tampons).


I was wondering how other people deal with it. It makes sex often painful and unpleasant. I can't go for too long, and usually my natural lube dries up and then it chafes, and then it hurts, and then the muscles contract even more...


anyway the cycle perpetuates itself.


Also lately I have been almost completely unable to get lubricated. Even when my boyfriend goes down on me, I remain dry as a bone down there


Synthetic lubes don't really help, they just dry up as well and I find that unless I am naturally lubed, I can't get penetrated...


So.... any tips, advice, similar experiences to help me girls? (and guys, if your GF has had the same thing).

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uh.. i kinda have those symptoms, i thought it was vaginismus, but my gyn thought it was just my involuntary fear of pain that was causing the contractions.

Use lots of lube, and work it in slow every single time.

I have noticed that over the years there is less and less pain. Its been going on 5 years now and there is almost no pain or discomfort at all. Compared to when it first started it was extremely bad.

I know you said lube doesnt help that much because it wears out, but try astroglide, some people highly reccomend it as the best lube.

When having intercourse your goal is to be as relaxed as possible also.. and usually (every woman is different) stimulating just the clitoris with a finger is helpful in creating lube, it may take a minute or two but it helps in the long run.

Try those out and see if its of any help.

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Yeha, kind of understand,kind of dont...Im not naturally really

wet, use to be, dont know what changed, I did stop using tampons

and it helped a little but not really. I HATE Pads,so switched back to them again. I actually use Vaseline around the vaginal walls when im feeling

insecure about it. Boyfriend likes it.


Its painful a little for me when havng sex, if he goes in deep and starts trusting in me hard, itfeels like its going to come out ofmy Stomach,Literally...

Not sure if that will Actually happened,but I am wondering if this is the

same for you or not??

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Hi Beth!


I'm not naturally "wet" and so we used KY liquid which is a totally acceptable alternative to natural wetness. I know some women think its a big deal if they can't "make their own" but its just a plain fact that some of us don't...it doesnt make us abnormal...its just a natural variation.


As far as the vaginismus goes, there are physical therapists who deal with the pelvic floor muscles (muscles that run from your pubic bone to tail bone and that surround the entrance to the vagina) and who can teach you to relax the muscles which will reduce pain and allow you to have a "normal" sex life as well as use tampons etc. etc. I have pelvic floor dysfunction where *all* of my pelvic muscles are tight and physical therapy has been a godsend for me. I think it is definitely worth looking in to as most women have a hard time learning to retrain these muscles themselves. You DONT want a physical therapist who is going to get you to do kegals (tightening the muscles) as that will only make your problem worse.


If you or anyone else wants any more info feel free to send me a PM.



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Thanks everyone. I may look into the physical therapy soon- sounds promising.


The whole area 'down there' is in disarray at the moment. I am going into hospital in a few weeks to get pre-cancerous cells cut out of my cervix. I had thrush for ages (anti-biotics cased it) and all this on top of the vaginismus has made sex pretty impossible.


I am wondering if all the stress of it has taken away my sex drive too My partner is so patient and wonderfil, but I feel sad that I can't please him the way I used to when we were first together. I just want to 'snap out' of all of these problems.


When we 'get busy' and I don't lubricate, I start stressing and then it gets worse. It all seems so hopeless at the moment.


I guess I just needed to say it, even though I doubt anyone has a magical answer for me. Thanks for listening.

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Hi beth,


I have a condition that is related in ways to vaginismus (called vulvodynia, or rather, for me, the subset of it called vulvar vestibulitis.) This is a condition where the vulva burns and feels raw with penetration. Someone even started a thread on it here ("Vestibulitis"), a while ago, and it's just been me and them posting, mostly, since it's not that common -- vaginismus is more common, actually. Different things cause it for different women, but often it's triggered by chronic yeast infections (which I had), and getting a sensitized reaction in the vulva to the medications. Almost like a contact dermatitis with no obvious symptoms that you can see. But they now think that some women have more nerve endings there that cause the sensitivity, maybe even from birth, and I do know that I was feeling "irritated" even as a virginal teenager.


The result of having to deal with intercourse being painful from the word "go" up until the present (there is no known cure, and only now is research being done more into this, and other pelvic pain disorders, so it's only now in my life that any hope has been on the horizon), means that I've had a very compromised "normal" sexual life. I've had partners and serious relationships, but never "flings" because of this (or at least not any flings that involved intercourse.)


While mine has an inflammatory component, the vicious cycle is all-too present in my case too, because the body naturally and involunatarily learns to clench up and tense. And the bloodflow is compromised (I suspect that's one reason the natural lubrication may not be happening, either -- did that dryness start with the spasms of vaginismus?) The pain causes the body to want to avoid penetration, which happens to me, too, so I have chronically tightened muscles (even when not having sex.) Chronic pain throws the whole system out of whack. Sometimes I get sharp, shooting pains upon arousal, and though I don't have classic vaginismus where the pelvic floor muscles and sphincter clamp shut, it does feel like a spasm. Even when I'm soooo turned on (and I do lubricate a lot, thank goodness for that, at least!!), this totally out-of-my-control thing happens. You simply can't just tell yourself "relax" and make it stop.


So I know what you are going through is really tough, and the good news is that like another poster said, pelvic pain physical therapy is now the first line of treatment. I have begun it a few times myself, and had to stop, but I am going now again to a new one. They have biofeedback to help train your body to know what relaxing the muscles feels like, they do manual work to "release" tight areas inside and out, and diagnose what is perpetuating it. I highly recommend you look into this, since the success rates for vaginismus (not vulvodynia/vestibulities) with pelvic floor retraining is VERY high.


You're very lucky to have an understanding partner -- good for you! That is pretty crucial to feeling still functional and sexually capable.


May I ask when this condition started for you? Did it coincide with any traumatic life events, or was it just the antibiotics and thrush? I think having the area tampered with and causing anxiety, with the procedures may have set off a kind of protective "flinching" mechanism? Do you think?


I think though that the other problems aside, this is highly curable!

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You DONT want a physical therapist who is going to get you to do kegals (tightening the muscles) as that will only make your problem worse.


If you or anyone else wants any more info feel free to send me a PM.




I might PM you, but this one I just wanted to ask about here: thank you for saying this about kegels, and I wonder what to tell my current therapist. She said the protocol should be 30 repetitions, held for 10 seconds each, per day. There is NO WAY I can do that, it makes the feeling even worse to do a few. She said the theory is that you tire the muscles doing them, and when they get fatigued, they naturally "let go" and relax.


Is this anything you've heard about? I have heard this theory, too, but for me it's like treating an overworked bicep muscle by doing more curls, and that's just not going to work for me!! But she is pretty adamant that I "try it". I don't know what else your therapist said about kegels, but what else did your therapist do for you? Did she say NOT to do kegels? They are the standard for strengthening the muscles which is not applicable here, but she said the purpose for me is to force them to relax.


I feel leery though. And appreciate your having posted that comment.

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May I ask when this condition started for you? Did it coincide with any traumatic life events, or was it just the antibiotics and thrush?



Thanks for that post, it was so helpful. I also get sharp pains when I get aroused... I got worried about it, and even after tests, they didn't find any obvious cause (like STD or infections) for it. The couldn't find anything wrong with the internal walls of my vagina either... it is so frustrating.


As for when it started, I lost my virginity at 15- to my boyfriend at the time. He was really rough and forceful and it was excruciating. Every time he hurt me, and sometimes he was so rough he'd make me bleed or bruise my thighs. That's probably where it started... it was quite traumatic. Ever since then I rarely can relax and enjoy sex.


I looked up your other thread, and some stuff on the vestibulitis... I am thinking of getting checked for that, as I feel like I may have some other symptoms (like needing to pee a lot). It seems like there are so many possible things wrong with me... it makes me really depressed sometimes and I don't know what to do.


I am just so thankful to my partner. I love him and he is the most wonderful person, and is so patient with me. Thanks darling. (he doesn't read this but I felt like saying it anyway) =)


When I go into hospital for the surgery I am going to ask them about the vestibulitis thing. I am so scared of the procedure, too- a NEEDLE in my CERVIX>>>??? eek!

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Beth, I'm so sorry you're dealing with so many things at once! That is so rough, but you'll get through this. You just have to take one thing at a time.


My thoughts go out to you re. the surgery next week -- and yes, that might be a good time to ask about vestibulitis, though that's a more external diagnosis and I'm not sure if the doctors doing the cervical procedure will be as knowledgable about the vestibulitis/vulvodynia as your regular gynecologist (unless he/she is the one doing the procedure.) But by all means, ask. Once I realized what it was called, I asked everyone I could about it, doctor-wise. There is still so much to find out, but as I said in that thread by darthpeladus (and my own, on the topic), the internet has been a GODSEND for women with "private pains" that before were completely isolating.


I am so glad for you that you now have such a wonderful partner -- after such a terrible experience before. Yes, that would without a doubt create a lot of "programming" in your body to protect itself in a lot of ways. It sounds almost like being raped. That can cause vaginismus, as you know. But I would just deal with the cervical procedure first, before you get more longterm therapy for the muscle spasm, so that you get all insive things out of the way and can learn to relax. Or, you can see a physical therapist (your doctor might have to prescribe therapy, that's how it is here) and they will work to your level of comfort. There is nothing wrong with the "wall" of your vagina -- it's the muscles that are deeper down, like a hammock at the bottom of your pelvis. A therapist can go in manually and find these muscles by pressing, and often this sets off a release. Which gives it the name "trigger point therapy." Someone trained in manual pelvic therapy can find which muscles are more tight and perform this kind of massage -- in fact, partners are taught to do this for you, too. I am still dreaming of the day I have a partner who will go through this with me (being single really wrecks havoc on my self-confidence in this area.) It's bearable, when I have a partner who I know is patient and loves me anyway. It's been a while...


Do you have rawness and burning at the vaginal opening, in the skin, on penetration? Is that why you think you might have vestibulitis?


I know how you feel about getting depressed -- we are really delicate creatures down there, and if your first experiences were that traumatic (an injurious!), it's not at all surprising that your bladder as well as pelvic muscles and vulva are all involved in this together. It's all so connected. But I think you have some steps to take here, and so one at a time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the kind words... I am getting increasingly nervous about the surgery- it's in a week now... Yes I do sometimes feel shallow pain around the entrance upon penetration, like burning. The skin feels like fragile paper sometimes.


Anyway, thanks for your help, I appreciate your advice.


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