How do we treat vaginismus?
For women with vaginismus, the act of vaginal penetration appears frightening, unnecessary and meaningless. Women with this painful condition usually come to therapy unwillingly, instead hoping to find a drug to solve the problem or a 'quick fix' treatment. Unfortunately, these kinds of approaches usually end in disappointment.
As a therapist who is interested in this subject and has been treating this condition for 15 years, I would like to stress that Sexual therapy is the easiest and most practical way of treating vaginismus. Over 90% of patients who follow our step by step programme are cured of their condition without any pain, bleeding, or force, or experiencing any invasion of privacy or loss of control. Treatment usually involves a minimum of 12 therapy sessions at our centre. A common reaction after treatment is “Was that what I was scared of?”, along with emotions of happiness, astonishment and joy.
What does vaginismus treatment involve?
- Education: Common myths about the hymen, and pain during penetration are explained and debunked, and patients are taught how to take control of their condition.
- Muscle exercises are a key part of therapy. The vicious cycle that takes place in vagina muscles that are conditioned to contract can be stopped by practising simple pelvic floor exercises. Also known as Kegel exercises, they are effectively an antispasmodic form of physiotherapy.
- Desensitisation Tactics: A step by step approach which allows the sufferer to gradually face up to her fears and ultimately, overcome them.
- Programming the Unconscious: A negative object - in this case penetrative sex - is turned into a positive one using techniques such as affirmation and visualisation. Most importantly, the woman is encouraged to take responsibility for the problem.
- Couples Therapy: This is additionally recommended if there are marital or relationship problems. A problem with a spouse or partner is one of the most common obstacles in the way of successful treatment.