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  • Janette O'toole

Painful sex- can a vagina be too tight?

Vaginismus is an involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of vaginal penetration. It can affect a woman's ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration. Just like any muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles can go into spasm. And just like any other muscle spasm, just telling it to ‘relax’, won’t usually fix the problem.


You are not alone. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help!

Millions of women suffer silently from pelvic floor disorders and don't mention their symptoms to health professionals because they are embarrassed or because they don't think help is available.


I have also heard countless times of women being dismissed by their GP or gynaecologist and told to simply use more lubrication or to ‘relax’ during intercourse. In fact many women have seen multiple doctors or specialists before they are actually directed to someone that can help.


Although the exact incidence is unknown it is estimated that about 10% of women will experience pain during sex.


Common symptoms of vaginismus

  • Pain, difficulty or being unable to achieve penetration

  • Feeling 'blocked' or like ‘hitting a brick wall’

  • Pain or discomfort with initial penetration

  • Burning or stinging with tightness during sex

  • Feeling 'too small' or 'tight'

  • Avoidance of sex due to pain and/or failure

  • Some women may experience difficulty inserting tampons or undergoing a pelvic/gynaecological exam


Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is the first-line treatment for vaginismus.


If you have any of the above symptoms, I would recommend you see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. This is a physiotherapist who has undertaken specialised training in this area, is able to assess your pelvic floor and provide you with treatment and advice to help with this condition.

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