Though their names and some symptoms are similar, vaginismus and vaginitis are quite different.
Vaginismus is the name given to the condition that causes the involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina when being penetrated. This muscular contraction can occur regardless of the object used for penetration, be it the male organ, tampon, finger or personal vibrator.
The muscles can even become so tight with vaginismus that it can preclude the possibility of intercourse.
Apart from the tightening common in vaginismus, there is often also a stinging or burning sensation in the vagina when anything is inserted.
Vaginitis, on the other hand, is the name given to inflammation or infection of the vagina.
There are several different types of vaginitis, ranging from yeast infection, bacterial infection and infection caused by a single cell parasite transmitted during sexual contact and called ‘trichomoniasis’, to non-infectious vaginitis caused by some form of sensitivity or allergic reaction to soaps, fabric softeners, spermicidal products etc.
Symptoms of vaginitis include itching, irritation and abnormal discharge.
Treatment depends on the type of vaginitis. Yeast infections can be cleared with a cream or suppository. Bacterial infections and trichomoniasis are treated with antibiotics, and non-infectious vaginitis is cleared by identifying and eliminating the cause of the sensitivity.
Because each type of vaginitis needs different treatment it is absolutely essential that anyone experiencing symptoms consult with their doctor or medical advisor in order to receive the correct diagnosis and proper treatment. Given the right kind of treatment, vaginitis can usually be cleared quite quickly.
With vaginismus, there are two categories.
The first type is known as ‘primary vaginismus’, a classification applied when a woman has never been able to achieve sexual intercourse. The second is when the woman has been able to have intercourse in the past, but has come to experience difficulty, and this type is called secondary vaginismus.
The severity of symptoms and their consequences vary from person to person. Some women are able to have sexual relations, including sexual intercourse, but only with real difficulty. However, because of the discomfort, the vaginismus can prevent orgasm.
Quite naturally, such discomfort and pain can cause real fear of sexual intercourse or penetration, causing the woman to avoid sex and lose sexual desire.
Each of these symptoms is really beyond the reach of the conscious mind. They are simply involuntary. What has happened is that the subconscious, feeling mind, has been programmed to associate vaginal penetration with pain. It has become a ‘conditioned response’. Consequently, the vaginal muscles instinctively tighten as part of the body’s protective mechanism, and in order to prevent further pain by penetration. This tightening may happen before actual introduction of anything into the vagina – even at the suggestion or thought of penetration.
Needless to say, all of this can take its toll on relationships, even preventing people from having children. Sometimes gynaecological procedures may be so uncomfortable and difficult that an anaesthetic may need to be administered in order to perform an examination.
The causes of vaginismus are varied and the first thing that needs to be done is for the woman to be checked medically. If the cause of the vaginismus is determined to be physical – an injury or infection, for instance – then this can usually be effectively treated with medication.
Very often, though, vaginismus has psychological underpinnings, and when this is the case then the cause often lies in the individual’s personal history.
At some time in the past, the woman may have experienced intense pain or discomfort in the vaginal region, or less commonly, she may have learned of such pain from another person and been influenced by this in a process known as ’emotional contagion’. In this ‘sensitizing event’ the subconscious mind has been ‘programmed’ to link pain with the idea of sexual intercourse or with the thought of inserting anything whatsoever into the vagina.
Sometimes the woman may remember this sensitizing event, but often it may be lost to conscious recall.
Luckily, there is a way in which this programming can be re-written and the effect reversed. The fastest and really effective way to accomplish this is work with the subconscious mind in hypnosis. Using suggestion therapy and reinforcement, the subconscious can be re-trained, so that it no longer automatically associates discomfort and pain with vaginal penetration.
Working with the subconscious mind, modern advanced hypnotherapy really can help restore the natural ability of the body and of the vagina to function as it was designed to do.
If you have been experiencing vaginismus or vaginitis then visit your doctor or medical advisor prior to consulting with the hypnotherapist. Whether by antibiotics or hypnotherapy, you might just be surprised at how quickly you can be helped.
DISCLAIMER: This article is provided for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.