Treatment usually combines counseling, education, and muscle exercises. Treatment options include:
Kegel exercises cause the repetitive contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles. The exercises can help improve control over the vaginal muscles.
Vaginal Dilation Exercises
Vaginal dilation exercises use the patient's own fingers or plastic instruments called dilators. The dilators are gradually increased in size and placed in the vagina over time. Women may be asked to practice Kegel exercises while the dilators are in the vagina.
Once patients have reached a certain tolerance, sexual intercourse is attempted. Patients may be asked to place the dilators themselves, but the program is supervised by a healthcare provider.
Fear of sex is a large part of this disorder, so educating women is an important part of treatment. Women are taught about sex organs and how they work. The sexual response cycle and common sex myths are also discussed.
Depending on the cause, psychological counseling is often central to the treatment of vaginismus, particularly primary vaginismus due to sexual abuse or trauma.
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