Can tampon usage give you vaginismus?

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    My name is Samantha and I live in The Netherlands.

    Am I allowed to ask a question here on vaginismus?

    When I was 16, my parents booked a family vacation to Italy. Sun, sea and an all-inclusive hotel… everyone was looking forward to that trip, including me. Until I started calculating and had to tell my mum I was going to have my period during our holiday. She always had a hard time communicating on intimate subjects, so instead of telling me how to use tampons, she handed me over a box and didn’t hesitate to add something like “you better be sure you can use them by the time we leave”. I’ve always used pads, so tampons were like a big deal for a 16 year old. I think I’ve read the instructions on the box 20 times, and I’ve looked up all the instruction videos I could find on YouTube When I asked for help, my mom simply said I had to “push the applicator in”.

    So I started practicing, using my own spit to make them less uncomfortable cause I wasn’t bleeding at that time. The more I tried to insert and remove them, the more painful they became. When I tried to remove my forth or fifth tampon, things were so painful I literally cried and yelled when I had to pull the tampon out. That was the last time I used tampons and I spend my holiday at the beach wearing shorts instead of a bikini.

    When I became sexually active a few years later, I recognised the same pain I had when I removed my last tampon. My docs says it’s vaginismus, and I’m currently waiting to start therapy.

    Is it possible that tampon usage actually triggers vaginismus? Or is it the other way around, and was it difficult to use tampons BECAUSE I had vaginismus already at that time?


    What I was 15 or 16 some girls in my class started using tampons and I often heard them warning the other classmates that it hurts when you remove your first tampon, so I guess that lots of teens find them difficult to insert and remove. I’m sure that if you have pain when using tampons this can cause vaginismus. On the other hand, if you already have vaginismus, this will certainly make tampon usage painful as well. I don’t think you can tell what came first.


    I’d like to second what kiala2021 said – it’s usually pretty hard to tell whether something CAUSED vaginismus or that it just REVEALED that it was there. There’s a lot we just don’t know about that (although I have read that some women are just predisposed to having vaginismus – it can be as simple as because you’re prone to anxiety and you carry that tension in your vagina).

    I think something about your story that a lot of people will recognize is that a lot of women who have vaginismus have negative experiences with tampons, but this isn’t usually a tipping point for them as there’s such an easy and painless alternative in the form of pads, so most women just decide they won’t use tampons. Once they try to have sex later is usually when the actual emotions and challenges of vaginismus have to be confronted.

    At any rate, it’s good that you know what situation you’re dealing with and that you’re waiting to start therapy! Let us know if you have any questions – I’m glad you’ve figured out what’s going on and are seeking help!

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