On intention of inserting an object into the vagina, women with vaginismus, experience an involuntary and irrepressible tension of pelvic muscles. For these women, sexual intercourse, inserting a tampon or a gynecological examination are impossible or only achieved while suffering great pain and fear.
The following exercise can help you understand what happens when you suffer from vaginismus: If you cough and at the same time concentrate on what you feel and what happens in your pelvic area. Whether you are a woman or a man you will feel a tightening sensation in the lower pelvic area. Your pelvic floor muscles will automatically contract, to keep urine from leaking out or dripping from the bladder. You can try coughing gently or hard; the muscles will always contract. If you cough and at the same time try to prevent the muscles contracting – you will find that`s impossible. It happens automatically and cannot be controlled. This exercise can help you understand how it feels when you can`t suppress a reflex – this isn´t exactly what happens in vaginismus, but it´s similar.
When you suffer from vaginismus, the tightening up of the pelvic muscles is also automatic and cannot be suppressed. A characteristic of this reflex is the unintentional way in which the pelvic floor tightens, which is also sometimes referred to as pelvic cramping. The cramping of the pelvic muscles in vaginismus is a reflex which is triggered subconsciously.
In anticipation of inserting an object (e.g., tampon, specula or penis) into the vagina (read more about advantages) the pelvic muscles contract – closing off the vagina, just behind the entrance to the vagina – approximately 2cm behind the outer vaginal opening.
You can´t overcome the vaginismus reflex by drinking alcohol or taking medicines to relax.
Pelvic floor muscles and vaginismus
The pelvic floor muscles consist of multiple layers that cross back and forth and over each other to form a hammock-like structure that supports the organs in the abdominal cavity. In female anatomy, the urethra, vagina, and rectum, which are like tubes, pass through these layers of muscles; from the abdominal cavity to openings on the surface of the body. When these muscle groups contract, they also tighten up the structures running through them. The tightening of the muscles not only leads to a tightening of the vagina but also to a shift in the vaginal position, creating a wall-like obstruction and “closing off” the vagina.
Dr. Julia Reeve`s Vaginismus Therapy can make the vaginismus reflex disappear forever.