Primary vs Secondary Vaginismus: What is the difference?

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    Hi everyone! I often get a lot of questions about primary vs secondary vaginismus. Here is a blog post I wrote on the topic that I thought would be interesting and help make this important distinction:

    I’d like to take a moment to clarify that painful sex can come in many different forms. Vaginismus, which is pain related to tight muscles at the vaginal opening (sometimes called introital pain) has two subsets –primary and secondary. Primary vaginismus is pain that has ALWAYS been present. Women who fall into this category have not usually been successful in inserting a tampon or having a speculum exam due to muscle spasms. This is often accompanied by anxiety and fear of any penetration. Secondary vaginismus occurs after women have experienced a healthy sex life, but for myriad reason may have significant pain with penetrative intercourse. This can be as a result of hormonal changes during menopause or after childbirth, post-surgical changes, medications or trauma to name a few.
    The diagnosis of vaginismus requires a pelvic exam, and an assessment of the muscles that surround the vaginal opening. If your medical provider determines you do have vaginismus, it’s likely that vaginal dilators will be indicated in your treatment plan. These dilators help progressively stretch the muscles, and eventually allow for comfortable penetration. Other treatments that may be indicated include hormonal therapies, pelvic floor physical therapy and counseling. If you are suffering with painful sex or vaginismus, it is important you find a healthcare provider that is skilled, knowledgeable and equipped to treat these conditions. Painful sex is never acceptable, and if you are told otherwise – find someone else who will listen. You deserve it.


    Good to know! I never knew the difference before!

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