Dr Novikova explaining to a patient in her office.

Vaginismus – Painful Penetration

Vaginismus is an involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscle on penetration. It is usually triggered by unpleasant sexual experience either due to forced sexual encounter or more commonly due to pain caused by infection, vaginal dryness, a spasm or soreness in one of the vaginal muscles and glands or other medical conditions.

The cause of vaginismus is not fully understood but is often developed due to the association of vaginal pain following yeast or bladder infection, whilst for some women it can be a fear of potential pregnancy. Painful penetration usually triggered by unpleasant sexual experience. It can be related to sexual abuse, at times it is experience in doctors office and other times the cause is very strict religious upbringing.

The aftermath of a painful experience causes the brain to send a signal to the vaginal muscle to contract, which causes more pain on penetration, setting a vicious cycle into play. Even when the original cause of pain is no longer a present factor, the contraction of the vaginal muscle on penetration occurs automatically.

The pain which occurs during penetration of the vagina or pain at the vaginal opening can be related to a condition called Vaginismus.

Traditionally, Vaginismus treatment was cognitive which involves psychological therapy. This was often accompanied by vaginal dilators.

In modern times, botulinum toxin or botox can be used as a treatment.

Botulinum toxin or botox as it is more commonly known as an injection which is administered for medical and cosmetic purposes. There are a wide range of uses for Botox, with more recent findings highlighting the effect of Botox when it is injected into the vaginal muscles. The injection stops the vagina from contracting and breaks the vicious cycle of Vaginismus. The pain-reducing effects can be felt around 2 weeks after the first treatment. The effects of Botox do not wear off when treating Vaginismus as it does when used in other aesthetic medicine.

Dr Novikova will provide you with guidance on care following botox injection. There are certain exercises that you will have to do yourself and then with your partner following the procedure.

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