Tight and painful vagina

When your vagina feels very tight, as though nothing could go inside, you may have a condition called vaginismus. 

Vaginismus can make efforts to have penetrative sex very painful.  

Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles caused by a deep emotional inability to relax these muscles in order to allow penetration. In almost all cases, the vulva and vagina are completely healthy.

Primary vaginismus, where nothing has ever entered the vagina, not even a tampon, is common among girls who have had a very loving, but sometimes over-protective background. They may have grown up with well-meaning but powerful taboos around sex and find it hard to move past that.  Some women who experience vaginismus just hold a belief that sex is painful, or that they aren't able have sex. A history of sexual assault, abuse or family violence may also be associated with this condition. 

You can get help if you have vaginismus. Specialist sexual counselling is very helpful and is often combined with help from a physiotherapist to use a vaginal dilator or 'trainer'. Trainers are plastic tubes that allow women to learn to insert something into their vagina. They should only be used under professional guidance. Treated  appropriately, over 80 per cent of women will overcome this distressing condition.


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The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.

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