Dyspareunia: Doctor explains the condition and its symptoms
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Vaginismus is when the vagina suddenly tightens up when you try to insert something into it. While most cases of vaginismus can be cured, the condition is painful and upsetting and causes many women to swear off sex for good. With this in mind, can you get pregnant with vaginismus?
Vaginismus is wrongfully understood as painful sex – it is actually where some or all types of vaginal penetration are impossible.
The condition is the body’s automatic reaction to the fear of penetration and when it is attempted, the vaginal muscles tighten up on their own.
Vaginismus doesn’t rule out all kinds of sexual contact, but it makes sexual intercourse impossible until the condition is fully treated.
The reasons for vaginismus are not always clear, but some things thought to cause it, including:
- fearing that your vagina is too small
- a bad first sexual experience
- an unpleasant medical examination
- believing sex is shameful or wrong
- a painful medical condition, like thrush
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Can you get pregnant with vaginismus?
If you have vaginismus and want to have children, you might be wondering if this will ever be possible.
Women are prone to worrying about their ‘biological clocks’, and vaginismus is another thing to add to the stress.
Whether you’re single or not, vaginismus holds you back from getting pregnant naturally until you can have penetrative sex.
Vaginismus.com says: “We encourage women to continue to work at overcoming vaginismus while they pursue pregnancy options.
“As vaginismus is usually treated successfully within a reasonable time, couples are often able to resolve their vaginismus prior to conception and childbirth.”
If you can’t manage to cure your vaginismus and get pregnant through IVF or another method, you may still find childbirth hard.
According to Vaginismus.com, unresolved vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy, but will not normally impede the actual vaginal delivery process.
The site says: “Although childbirth is typically experienced naturally, just as it occurs for women without vaginismus, there may be difficulties with pelvic exams and other pre/post-natal procedures or with medical interventions during complications of delivery.
“Thus, women would be advised to consider resolving their vaginismus prior to delivery.
“Please note that a consultation with a physician is necessary to confirm the applicability of treatment options and to ensure that there are no risks posed by any treatment methods.”
While some women may experience minor improvement in their vaginismus as a result of the birthing process, the condition may get worse for others.
The site reads: “Others may see their condition worsen as a result of additional trauma or recovery pain.
“Usually without treatment, the vaginismus remains, although each case is different and it is difficult to determine what a woman’s experience will be.”
Even simple routine exams during pregnancy will be difficult for most women with vaginismus, who may experience spasms or pelvic tightness during the tests.
The advice says: “For this reason, vaginismus may present problems during prenatal care visits, vaginal ultrasounds, pre/post-delivery pelvic exams, and other procedures.
“The best solution for these tightness problems is for women to treat the vaginismus so they can eliminate the limbic system response and make both intercourse and pelvic exams possible without pain or difficulty.”
If you have vaginismus and want to have children, your best bet is to resolve your condition first.
A lot of the time, vaginismus puts pressure on, and causes problems in relationships. But overcoming it will only “deepen and strengthen” your bond, according to Vaginismus.com.
The website says: “Although women experience the consequences of having vaginismus most acutely and directly, it is important to acknowledge that their partners will also experience a wide range of impacts.”
So how do you cure vaginismus? Well, there are plenty of options and it depends on your personal preference and situation.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with vaginismus, your GP or gynaecologist will recommend the best treatment for you.
The NHS website says: “Sometimes vaginismus is mistaken for a physical problem with your vagina, which can lead to needless surgery. Very few cases of vaginismus require surgery.”
Instead of something invasive like surgery, you’ll probably need to go to psychosexual therapy, do relaxation techniques, use dilators, do pelvic floor exercises and more.
Once you are able to have sexual intercourse, pregnancy will be much more plausible.
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