Vaginismus causes: 7 causes of vaginismus – How to overcome the condition

Vaginismus causes: 7 causes of vaginismus – How to overcome the condition

Dyspareunia: Doctor explains the condition and its symptoms

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Around one in 10 women in the UK find sex painful and vaginismus is just one cause of painful sex, also known as dyspareunia. Express.co.uk chatted to hypnotherapist Aaron Surtees from City Hypnosis to find out the common causes of vaginismus and how to overcome the condition.

Vaginismus makes penetrative sex impossible and can seriously impact the mental health of women who have it.

The condition causes the vaginal muscles to tighten up and the woman has no control over it.

Someone with vaginismus will also find it hard inserting a tampon, or feel a burning or stinging pain when attempting penetration.

Hypnotherapist Aaron Surtees, who heads up City Hypnosis, said he sees around 10 women a month who want to tackle vaginismus.

He said: “Those with undiagnosed vaginismus can feel embarrassed or abnormal, feelings which can prevent them from seeking help.

“It can also impact self-esteem and can lead to anxiety and depression.

“Those with vaginismus may avoid being sexual, may avoid being intimate or socialising or dating for fear that it could lead to sex.”

But what causes this unfortunate condition?

According to Mr Surtees, vaginismus is different from just pain during sex because it’s the body’s automatic reaction that causes it.

He said: “Vaginismus is a psychological condition that manifests itself in a physical form’ the fear of penetration which revolves around a fear of pain and loss of control.

“Many of my clients with this condition are women in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s who have never been able to use a tampon or insert a finger inside their vagina.

“Some women experience fear, difficulties or pain from the first time they try to insert something into their vagina and instead of getting better, it can get worse over time. This is called primary vaginismus.”

Other women can be fine for decades but develop pain during sex at a later date, and this is known as secondary vaginismus.

Mr Surtees said this can occur after pregnancy or as a result of gynaecological problems such as endometriosis.

What causes vaginismus?

The mind and the body are interlinked when it comes to sex and vaginismus.

The underlying causes of the condition are varied but in the case of primary vaginismus, common factors include:

  • Irrational fear or anxiety about pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Generalised anxiety or other anxiety disorders
  • Religious or cultural taboos around sex (where it is branded as a dirty or unspoken act during childhood and adolescence, something only to be done when consummating the marriage. This creates an inner conflict about whether to be sexual or not and sticks in the subconscious mind)
  • Unaroused sex or abuse (having sex when you really don’t want to or a history of physical, emotional or sexual trauma or abuse will also have a great impact)
  • Unrealistic expectations of sex leading to the fear of not being ‘good enough’ in bed can also cause the problem to manifest

Pelvic floor exercises, vaginal trainers and therapy are common treatment plans for vaginismus.

Very rarely is surgery or anything more severe suggested to fix the problem.

Mr Surtees recommends hypnosis to treat vaginismus – it works by “relaxing the client and allowing the subconscious mind to open up”.

Then, the hypnotherapist explained: “Positive suggestions are made around penetration and sexual imagery, this helps to normalise sex and promote it as a positive, healthy and enjoyable activity.

“Getting the client to visualise herself feeling pleasure from intercourse is key to great results.”

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