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Vaginismus Causes & Risks


Vaginismus is usually a response to past sexual trauma or other painful circumstances. The fear of pain can trigger a painful muscle spasm, in which case sex is then associated with fear and pain. Sometimes no cause can be found.

There are two forms of vaginismus, primary and secondary. Primary vaginismus is diagnosed in women who have never had successful sexual intercourse due to pain or its anticipation. Secondary vaginismus is diagnosed if a woman has had a successful experience with intercourse in the past.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that can increase the chances of a condition. Known risk factors for vaginismus include:

  • History of sexual abuse or trauma
  • A frightening childhood medical procedure
  • Painful first intercourse
  • Relationship problems
  • Sexual inhibition
  • Fear of pregnancy
  • Memory of previous pain due to infection, surgery, or other gynecologic conditions

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