Vaginismus or Vulvodynia?

Find support and treatment options from participants and Maze Women’s Health staff.

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    I am reaching out because I am trying to figure out what condition my pain falls under. I first noticed my pain when I was about 14 years old and I had difficulty inserting a tampon. I can only describe it as a sharp knife like stabbing feeling making penetration impossible. A couple years later when I tried to have sex for the first time I felt this pain again. I notice this pain only upon penetration. My gynecologists in the past have told me it’s Vaginismus. However, sometimes I do feel that my pelvic floor muscles are tightening as a defense because of the pain. Any time I try to practice relaxing my muscles I still notice that pain but maybe a little less sometimes. The reason I think I might have vulvodynia is because it can be localized to one spot which I wonder if it is the entrance. The more I read about these two conditions, the more confused I become and I would like to figure out which condition it is so i can develop the best treatment plan.


    Hi Tiny196,

    Thank you for your post – I’m sorry we are just responding now! You are right, its sometimes very difficult to distinguish between vaginismus and vulvodynia. They are often caught up in the what came first “chicken and egg” scenario. However, it sounds like you have done your research and are on the right path. My best advice would be to find a pelvic pain specialist to examine you. A well trained clinician will be able to distinguish which condition is primary and which may happening as a result of the other. The treatment will be tailored accordingly, so its so important to have the right working diagnosis. Best of luck, and let us know if we can be of assistance here at Maze!



    Hi, Tiny196! I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this! What you’re describing, is what I experienced and I was diagnosed with Vaginismus. I’d have pain upon any type of penetration and it felt like a hot knife. Your periods will be a huge tell if you have vulvodynia. If your periods are incredibly painful, keep you out of work/school, and give you diarrhea.. it may be vulvodynia. But I’m not a doctor! How are you doing?? Keep us updated, we’re here for you every step of the way!

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