Let’s face it: there are some physical problems that we can usually bring up and discuss with our doctors without feeling any real risk for being embarrassed, while there are others that many individuals might have trouble getting out into the air due to their sensitive or private nature. A condition called vaginismus may fall into the second category for most women, and that’s why our New York City physical therapists would like to open the conversation here and encourage women to seek out treatment at our facility if they are experiencing any of its symptoms.
Vaginismus is a condition that causes involuntary spasms of the muscles that surround the vagina, which makes penetration extremely painful and oftentimes impossible. Unfortunately, this condition is rarely discussed and often missed or misdiagnosed by doctors, which causes many women to go several years without knowing what’s wrong or how to fix it. This does not have to be the case, though, as physical therapy can effectively address the symptoms associated with vaginismus.
The pain experienced by vaginismus is caused by the involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, especially the pubococcygeus muscle group, which is responsible for urination, intercourse, orgasm, bowel movements and childbirth. This in turn leads to generalized muscle spasms and temporary stopping of breathing, and as a result of this pain, affected women will often become unable to have intercourse, enter a tampon or undergo a gynecological exam.
The pain that comes about from vaginismus ranges from mild to severe, and from a minor discomfort to a burning sensation. In some cases, these symptoms are accompanied by urinary urgency or frequency due to the spasm of muscles, which can complicate daily affairs even further. Both emotional and physical triggers can exacerbate symptoms even more, including fear/anxiety, sexual problems with your partner, traumatic life events, childhood experiences infection, menopause, pelvic surgery and medication side effects.
How our New York City physical therapists can help
Since vaginismus involves the shortening and spasming of muscle tissue, physical therapy is an excellent choice for treatment. For patients we see with vaginismus symptoms, treatment programs will generally include the following:
- Manual therapy
- Clinical and at-home exercise program
- Self-treatment instructions
- A home-exercise program
- Relaxation techniques
- Heat/cold therapy, ultrasound and cold laser therapy
- Pelvic floor muscle reeducation
So if you’re dealing with any of the symptoms above that may be related to vaginismus, we are here to help. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on vaginismus.