Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Everything you need to know about Vaginismus and

icon-faq-vaginismusGeneral Questions

What is vaginismus?

Vaginismus is vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse.

Vaginismus [vaj-uh-niz-muh s]¹

Vaginismus is a condition where there is involuntary tightness of the vagina during attempted intercourse. The tightness is actually caused by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina. The woman does not directly control or ‘will’ the tightness to occur; it is an involuntary pelvic response. She may not even have any awareness that the muscle response is causing the tightness or penetration problem.

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How do I know if I have vaginismus?

Women often suspect they have vaginismus simply from their symptoms.

Strong indicators of vaginismus include any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficult or impossible penetration, entry pain, uncomfortable insertion of penis
  • Unconsummated marriage
  • Burning or stinging with tightness during sex
  • Ongoing sexual discomfort or pain following childbirth, yeast/urinary infections, STDs, IC, hysterectomy, cancer and surgeries, rape, menopause, or other problems
  • Sexual pain of unknown origin or with no apparent cause
  • Difficulty inserting tampons or undergoing a pelvic/gynecological exam
  • Spasms in other body muscle groups (legs, lower back, etc.) or halted breathing during attempts at intercourse
  • Avoidance of sex due to pain and/or failure
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What is the difference between primary vaginismus and secondary vaginismus?

Vaginismus has two major classifications.

Vaginismus can be experienced by women at any age or time in life. It has two major classifications; primary vaginismus and secondary vaginismus. The medical community typically uses these terms to indicate the time of onset. The labels assist the medical community and researchers in diagnosis and classification. For the individual woman, the distinction between the two types tends to be of less importance. Whether primary or secondary, both are highly treatable.

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Are there varying degrees of symptoms with vaginismus?

Vaginismus symptoms range depending upon the type, causes, complications, and life stages that women are in. Fortunately, the treatment method is almost the same regardless of the intensity or specific variation.

Vaginismus’ symptoms

Vaginismus manifests itself in varying symptoms and degrees of intensity in different women. Fortunately, the treatment method is almost the same regardless of the intensity or specific variation. The symptoms range depending upon type, causes, and complications present. It broadly effects women from all stages of life in that it can be triggered in both younger and older women; in those with no sexual experience (primary vaginismus) and those with years of experience (secondary vaginismus). It can also be triggered by other pain conditions, surgery, or giving birth, and can pose confusing complications to other pelvic pain problems (see What is dyspareunia? What is the connection between dyspareunia and vaginismus?).

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Will vaginismus go away on its own?

Vaginismus is a self-perpetuating condition that requires treatment to break the ‘cycle of pain’ and fully resolve.

Vaginismus won’t go away on it’s own. Since vaginismus is an involuntary, self-perpetuating condition, it will not normally ‘go away’ unless properly addressed. The ‘cycle of pain’ that is triggered with vaginismus usually continues indefinitely (and typically worsens) until the woman learns how to control and override the pelvic floor muscle triggers that tighten the vaginal opening. As much as she may like to do so, a woman cannot simply ‘will’ vaginismus away, and it will not go away on its own.

Fortunately, vaginismus treatment has high success rates. A full recovery from vaginismus is the normal outcome of treatment, with pain-free intercourse restored.

Could vaginismus just be in my head?

Regardless of the potential causes, there is always a distinct, physical side to vaginismus.

Vaginismus may be the result of many factors With vaginismus, the pelvic floor tightening response is an involuntary physical occurrence, meaning that it is not under the immediate direction or control of the woman. Therefore, regardless of thecauses of vaginismus, there is always a distinct, sexually crippling, physical side to the condition. It is a condition in which varying physical and/or emotional factors may play complementary contributory roles and so both should be examined as part of the treatment process.

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Is it possible that my vagina is just too small? Could it be smaller from lack of use?

When a woman experiences penetration difficulties or tightness, it is rarely due to a small or abnormal vagina, and nearly always due to vaginismus.

A vagina that seems too small…

When penetration or sexual tightness problems first become apparent, it is very common for women to wonder if their vagina is too small for intercourse or has become smaller due to lack of use. Problems with penetration or sexual tightness may occur at any time in life, and are most commonly due to vaginismus, although age related issues may contribute.

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Could my hymen be causing my problem?

Hymen problems rarely cause penetration difficulty. Vaginismus is a much more common cause of penetration difficulties, and the symptoms are almost identical.

Hymen problems are very rare.

In very rare cases, women with unusually thick hymens could have penetration difficulties because of it. However, in practice, most women who believe their hymen is causing a penetration problem actually have vaginismus. Vaginismus is a much more common cause of penetration difficulties, and the symptoms can be almost identical to that of a hymen problem. Women frequently do not realize that their pelvic floor has tightened up the vaginal entrance when they attempt penetration, since with vaginismus this is happening involuntarily (the muscles are acting on their own without conscious direction). So they are confused as to why their partner is ‘hitting a wall’ with attempts at intercourse, and erroneously conclude that it is a hymen problem.

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Can my problem still be vaginismus if I've had pleasurable intercourse before and now it hurts?

Vaginismus can occur later in life following years of pain-free or pleasurable intercourse.

Vaginismus can occur later in life

Vaginismus can, and frequently does occur later in life following years of pain-free or pleasurable intercourse. This form of vaginismus is called secondary vaginismus. Symptoms may vary widely from simple discomfort to intense burning sensations upon penetration to inability to penetrate altogether. Sometimes the cause may not be apparent, other times it may stem from a wide range ofmedical/physical conditions such as discomfort from inadequate lubrication to more painful experiences such as childbirth, surgery, hormonal changes, or other health issues (see Causes). It can also be triggered in response to a traumatic emotional situation, such as a spouse’s infidelity.

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How does vaginismus affect husbands or partners of women with vaginismus?

How does vaginismus affect husbands or partners of women with vaginismus?

Sexual problems due to vaginismus can negatively affect all aspects of a relationship. Overcoming vaginismus together can deepen and strengthen couple bonds and bring needed restoration.

Although women experience the consequences of having vaginismus most acutely and directly, it is important to acknowledge that their partners will also experience a wide range of impacts. As the ordeal of untreated vaginismus drags on into weeks, months or years before solutions are found, frustrations mount and the relationship can undergo severe strain. The impacts of vaginismus on men create unique burdens as they often feel helpless and at the mercy of a situation they can’t control.

What is dyspareunia? What is the connection between dyspareunia and vaginismus?

Any type of dyspareunia (general sex pain) may trigger vaginismus (ongoing sex pain or penetration problem from involuntary vaginal tightness).

Dyspareunia [dis-puh-roo-nee-uh

Dyspareunia is a medical term that simply means ‘painful intercourse’. It is a general term used to describe all types of sexual pain. Sexual pain may occur upon penetration, during intercourse, and/or following intercourse. It can exist anywhere in the genital area – the clitoris, labia, or vagina, etc. The pain may be described as sharp, stinging, burning, bumping, cramping.

I can't seem to have orgasms. Could this be related to vaginismus?

Vaginismus may impede orgasm in some cases.

The inability to achieve orgasm may relate to vaginismus. In some cases, vaginismus impedes orgasm through blocking penetrative intercourse or by causing pain during thrusting. Although vaginal penetration is not necessary in order to achieve orgasm, if the body reacts to stimulation by triggering the vaginismus response, the tightened pelvic floor may abruptly end arousal and even impair the ability to achieve orgasm manually. Also, any emotional issues contributing to the vaginismus response could also be impairing relaxation and the ability of a woman to allow the arousal cycle buildup to orgasm. For example, some women have anxieties related to being naked or vulnerable, and this could impair their ability to become aroused to the point of orgasm. Note that this is not universal. Many women with vaginismus have no trouble at all achieving orgasm.

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icon-faq-vaginismusTreatment FAQs

How successful is vaginismus treatment?

Vaginismus is highly treatable. When a robust program is followed, treatment outcomes are nearly always positive and successful, with full resolution.

Vaginismus Treatment Success Rates
Rate Independent Study Cited
100% Biswas & Ratnam, 1995
Nearly 100% Butcher, 1999
98-100% Masters & Johnson, 1970
97.7% Schnyder, Schnyder-Luthi, Ballinari, & Blaser, 1998
95% Katz & Tabisel, 2002
91.42% Nasab & Faroosh, 2003
87% Scholl, 1988
75-100% Studies cited in Heiman, 2002

Treatment Success

Vaginismus is considered the most successfully treatable female sexual disorder. Many studies have shown treatment success rates approaching nearly 100%. The self-helpapproach is based on extensive research into the causes and treatment of vaginismus and includes a complete 10 step process with easy-to-follow, practical treatment solutions. This approach has been used successfully by thousands of women and medical professionals.

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How long does treatment take?

Successful resolution of vaginismus in reasonable time is the normal outcome of vaginismus treatment.

Vaginismus can normally be treated and fully overcome in a reasonable time frame. Motivated women without significant complications usually find that six weeks is adequate to resolve their sexual pain or penetration problems. Research has shown that even two-week time frames are potentially realistic where there is an intense ‘full-time’ effort, professional assistance, and no significant complications. Masters & Johnson were original pioneers of the two-week intensive therapy window concept for successfully treating conditions such as vaginismus. Treatment times may be enhanced if the program is administered by a health care specialist, such as a physical therapist, physician, or counselor. Although, in some cases access to specialists may be difficult and actually slow the process.

One of the great advantages of the self-help approach is that women can work at a pace which is comfortable and spend more or less time in specific areas where warranted. Highly motivated women may complete the program more quickly, but individuals can take whatever time they need to complete the steps comfortably.

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Is there a difference between the treatment for primary and secondary vaginismus?

There are only minor differences in the treatment of primary and secondary vaginismus. Women undergoing treatment for secondary vaginismus may find they can bypass certain sections, especially those dealing with emotional triggers, and possibly shorten overall treatment duration.

With secondary vaginismus, the treatment focus is mainly on learning conscious control of the PC muscles to eliminate tightness, although other steps are involved. There are usually fewer emotional triggers and so less necessity to work through psychological or emotional issues, unless the circumstances that preceded the vaginismus included experiences of that nature (such as rape or other sexual trauma). As another example, if sex has been painful for a long time or a woman has not had sex for a long time due to the pain, she may have developed some negative feelings towards sex, or possibly her relationship with her partner. In these, or similar cases, it may still be advisable for women with secondary vaginismus to review all the steps to ensure that all vaginismus triggers are addressed. Addressing potential emotional components will ensure that when pain-free intercourse is possible, women are able to fully engage intimately.

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Why is it so difficult to get diagnostic and treatment help for vaginismus?

Professional help is not always accessible. Vaginismus is sufficiently rare that many physicians have never heard of it or have little experience with diagnosis or treatment.

Why do some women feel that their physicians do not understand this condition?

Vaginismus is a disorder that often ‘falls between the cracks’ of general medical practices. Women may simply not get the care they need or in many cases initially experience incorrectdiagnosis or treatment advice from physicians who are simply unfamiliar with the condition. As vaginismus is considered to be in the ‘less-than-1%-of-the-population’ category, most physicians are not trained to screen for it or to even have familiarity with it. Also, as there may be no purely physical ailment that is apparent with vaginismus, some physicians feel that it is a condition that would be better suited to another health specialization. Unfortunately, as a result, some women are left feeling that the medical professions do not understand vaginismus, that the problem is untreatable, or that there are few treatmentoptions.

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Are there any drugs, vitamins, or surgical procedures available to cure vaginismus?

There are no drugs, vitamins, or surgical procedures that will treat or cure vaginismus.

Vitamins or Drugs

Online pseudo-pharmacies falsely promoting vitamins or drugs as ‘cures’ for vaginismus are typically taking advantage of people. Vitamins will not have any effect whatsoever on vaginismus as involuntary pelvic floor reactions require straight-forward retraining processes to overcome. In some cases, doctors have prescribed pain medications (oral or topical) to women with vaginismus as part of treatment. These medications may help with pain management, but they will not normally cure vaginismus unless combined with a treatment program that fully addresses the root of the problem.

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I have suffered from vaginismus for over 10 years. Is it too late for treatment now?

Success is the normal outcome of treatment regardless of the number of years the condition has been present. Vaginismus has high treatment success rates, even after long periods of time. Many women overcome vaginismus surprisingly quickly once treatment begins, even after decades of struggling with vaginismus. The process is generally the same whether a woman has suffered for one year or forty years, with usually only minor variations for age-related complications. Many of the participants in the vaginismus private forum have consummated after many years or decades with unconsummated marriages. It is a truly joyful experience to find freedom at any stage, but maybe even more so for those who have waited so long for first-time intercourse. It is truly never too late to find freedom from vaginismus.

Does the self-help approach only work for mild or marginal cases of vaginismus? Will it work for severe cases as well?

Success is the normal outcome of treatment regardless of the vaginismus severity level.

The self-help approach has been shown to be successful with all severity levels of vaginimus. Whether severe or mild, vaginismus is still treated effectively using the same general techniques and exercises with only minor variation. The effectiveness of self-help is undeniable. Statistically, self-help has been supported by studies such as Schnyder, Schnyder-Luthi, Ballinari, & Blaser, 1998 and Lankveld, Everaerd, & Grotjohann, 2001.

Countless numbers of women with acute, severe vaginismus (such as where the women are unable to insert anything into their vaginal opening – not a finger, tampon, or even something as small as a cotton swab) completely overcome their condition by simply working through program steps at home. Note also, that the apparent severity of vaginismus does not correlate with how long treatment will take. The motivation level and consistency in effort are much more important factors in how quickly treatment is completed and intercourse is restored.

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Do you recommend working with treatment professionals such as physicians, gynecologists, physical therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, sexual therapists or others?

Treatment professionals may be helpful in working through challenging areas of vaginismus treatment. While the vaginismus self-help program was designed to be used with or without ongoing professional assistance, areas of difficulty may certainly be easier to get through when working with an experienced specialist. Since every person’s specific needs and medical histories vary, specialists can often be helpful in the process of overcoming vaginismus. The following professionals provide assistance in various areas of treatment: Physicians and gynecologists (general diagnosis and treatment advice) Physicians may be consulted at any stage throughout vaginismus treatment to ensure individualized care and advice. Every person’s specific needs and medical histories vary, and medical consultation is essential. If possible, we encourage woman seeking medical assistance to locate a gynecologist, a physician with specialized training in diagnosing and treating female pelvic health issues. While not all gynecologists have specific experience with vaginismus, most will be tremendously knowledgeable about female pelvic health issues and can assist in ruling out any other causes of female sexual pain. The vaginismus kits may be used by physicians to assist them in administering care as appropriate.

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Is there any further support with the self-help kits?

Is there any further support with the self-help kits?

Having support available can be very helpful in the process of overcoming vaginismus. We are committed to providing ongoing support for all those going through the treatment steps throughout the entire process.

Our mission is to help women with vaginismus in any way we can. This includes going beyond the self-help program to offer support in a number of ways such as:

Vaginismus private forum – Our very active online private forum (thousands of posts) is a safe place for women to receive practical information, solid advice, and encouragement from moderators and other women going through the self-help program, or from those who have already completed the program and continue to encourage others. Any woman who joins the forum can feel free to post her questions or concerns anonymously by using the screen name of her choice. Some women silently read the posts of others for encouragement and some become active participants in the many encouraging thread discussions. The primary goal of the forum is to provide a network of support for women who are actively working to overcome vaginismus. Our forum is available 24 hours a day and women can ask questions about physical or emotional issues as well as gain much needed positive encouragement as they work through the program steps. Examples of topics covered in our forum include questions specific to each step of the self-help program, relationship issues, emotional issues, pregnancy, religious and social issues surrounding vaginismus, personal stories, gynecological exams, 40+ age related issues, and many other vaginismus-related chat topics. The forum also has an area for spouses. See Private Forum Introduction for more information.

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Should I stop trying to have intercourse during vaginismus treatment?

Continuing failing intercourse attempts may cause further complications and setbacks. Couples are encouraged to continue pleasuring each other in non-penetrative ways while the program is completed. During the initial steps of the vaginismus treatment process, we recommend that couples discontinue penetrative intercourse attempts. When intercourse is attempted prematurely, resulting in pain and discomfort, it may further entrench the vaginismus response of involuntary pelvic tightening. In addition, there may be increased emotional anxieties, fear of more pain, feelings of disappointment, physical complications or other setbacks. For these reasons, until control of the pelvic floor is developed it is wise to avoid potentially painful attempts at intercourse.

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Can you completely overcome vaginismus if you are single?

Vaginismus treatment can be completed while single, up to the point of being fully ready to transition to intercourse.

Being alone and dealing vaginismus can be disheartening and isolating. The embarrassment and shame of having the sexual condition leads many women to suffer privately and avoid future male partner relationships and contacts. Many single women wonder if vaginismus can be overcome without having a partner, and feel there may be little hope due to their singleness.

Fortunately, vaginismus treatment can be completed while single, up to the point of being fully ready to transition to intercourse. Although vaginismus is not considered fully resolved until pain-free sexual intercourse actually takes place, women can complete all the exercises that bring them to the point of readiness. They can go through the program on their own without any partner.

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As a vaginismus treatment professional, how does the program help my patients?

The vaginismus treatment program provides a comprehensive framework for treating vaginismus that is very helpful for both busy treatment professionals and their patients.

The treatment program offers real solutions and help for both professionals and every woman with vaginismus:

The program assists busy medical professionals and specialists by providing a reference for the programming and delivery of individualized treatment, including home exercises.

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How can I stay motivated and positive through treatment? I struggle with avoidance.

Avoiding vaginismus diagnosis and treatment keeps many women suffering needlessly. Taking positive corrective action is key to breaking the cycle of avoidance and defeat.

Fear, complacency, and avoidance

It is common for people to avoid issues that are difficult, painful, or have uncertain and potentially disheartening outcomes. This is especially true with vaginismus. The pervasive hopelessness that couples feel with this sex problem is defeating and paralyzing. One of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting through vaginismus is simply dealing with avoidance. Encouragement, love, patience, and communication can go a long way in helping to sustain relationships during trials, but there is no simply no substitute for taking positive corrective action. Facing the problem directly, educating oneself and taking the positive necessary steps to overcome vaginismus are key to breaking the cycle of avoidance and defeat.

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I can't even look at myself 'down there' and I feel queasy just considering penetration or any type of vaginal insertion. How can I make it through treatment?

The human mind has amazing capability to influence our physical being. Fears are generally diminished and overcome with knowledge and a proactive approach to one’s health.

Anxiety related to one’s body often stems from lack of knowledge, inadequate sex education, religious/cultural prohibitions against accepting one’s body and sexuality, painful past experiences, and poor self-body image. It is important that during the treatment process these issues are confronted and dealt with appropriately. A successful, effective treatmentprogram will address these aspects and assist women in changing the way they view themselves and help them to grow in confidence. Knowledge, combined with a step-by-step process of self-exploration and working through unhealthy emotions, helps women become more comfortable with their bodies and work toward attainable solutions for their condition.

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What can men do to help their wives/partners through vaginismus?

Men can help their partners in many ways through the process of successfully overcoming vaginismus.

When the trial of vaginismus hits, men often feel helpless, thinking “What can I do about it? The problem is with her.” Vaginismus, however, is not just a woman’s problem – it is a couple’s problem. The truth is there are a number of things men can do to help. By becoming educated about the dynamics of vaginismus and being emotionally supportive of their partners, men can help their spouses to be more positive and proceed through treatment more quickly. The trial may be hard to endure, but it is not hopeless. Once the condition is diagnosed and treatment begins, success is the likely outcome.

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Will sex ever feel good?

Restoration is the normal outcome of vaginismus treatment. Pain-free, pleasurable intercourse is achievable for most women overcoming vaginismus, as vaginismus has high treatment success rates. Pleasure is not really achievable when pain is present. Eliminating the pain is a necessary first-step in the process of receiving sexual pleasure. Sometimes, it is hard to imagine sex as pleasurable when tightness, pain, burning, or impossible penetration is experienced. Every story of recovery is different, but most often there will be a ‘transitional phase’ as couples first transition to intercourse without pain and then on to intercourse with growing pleasure.

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Vaginismus has taken its toll on our marriage. How do we become passionate again?

There are many things that couples can do to help re-ignite their passion for each other.

Re-igniting the passion

Couples that are in the transition phase, or that have overcome vaginismus and are now able to have pain-free intercourse, may find their passion for each other has disappeared as a result of the ongoing trials of vaginismus. Couples can be encouraged that the flame of passion can be re-ignited with a little effort and persistence.

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Once vaginismus has been successfully treated can it reoccur?

The process of overcoming vaginismus is generally permanent. The learned abilities are life-long and prevent reoccurrence.

The process of overcoming vaginismus normally instills life-long skills that provide permanent pain-free resolution. The body’s tendency to involuntarily tighten the pelvic flooris overcome, and if any vaginismus symptoms ever reoccur, they are typically easily resolved with the skills learned through successfully completing treatment.

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icon-faq-vaginismusDilator FAQs

What are the dilators made of? dilators are fabricated from quality, medical-grade materials.

Medical-grade Dilator Set dilators are injection-molded from medical grade plastics. They are non-toxic and latex-free. The dilators are fabricated in a ‘clean-room’ process, ensuring minimal contamination and high quality control. They are designed with a silky-smooth finish that ensures maximum comfort and ease of insertion.

Beyond the materials, they are also designed with many other benefits such as the natural tip shape, external handle, slight taper for easier transition between sizes, an appropriate size range, and other benefits. They are highly effective for treating vaginismus, as well as for post-surgical recovery programs, dyspareunia, vaginal narrowing, vaginal agenesis, and other similar gynecological conditions.

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Can the dilators be used to treat other conditions besides vaginismus? dilators are fabricated from quality, medical-grade materials.

Dilators are successfully used by health professionals to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.

Dilators are regularly used by physicians and other health professionals to treat a wide variety of medical conditions requiring the use of dilators in treatment or treatment recovery/therapy. The dilator set comes with a comfortable size range with smooth surfaces and a great design, so physicians often recommend the set for post-surgical recovery programs and conditions such as dyspareunia, vaginal narrowing, vaginal agenesis, vaginal atrophy, age related problems/changes, reconditioning the vagina after long periods of no sex, and other similar gynecological issues.

In all instances, patients should consult with their physician or health care provider for professional treatment recommendations and applicability.

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Will my health insurance cover the cost of buying dilators?

Insurance reimbursement varies, but is available in some cases.

We do not directly handle any insurance reimbursement. However, in some cases insurance reimbursement is available. Eligibility factors may include what is being treated, what type of insurance coverage or carrier is being used, whether the dilators have been prescribed by a treatment professional or physician, and other factors.

In practice, we know that some women have received reimbursement, while other’s claims have been rejected. In some cases, women have been asked for ‘letters of necessity’ from a treating physician before their insurance would process the claim.

In the USA, the codes most often used for insurance reimbursement are:

CPT Code: Procedure 57400 or 58999

HCPCS Code: E1399

Supplies: 99070

As our mandate is to help as many women as possible with vaginismus and related conditions, we have made our dilators as affordable as possible with the lowest prices in the world for a quality, medical grade product.

Why are vaginal dilators used in treating vaginismus?

Dilators are very helpful with certain parts of vaginismus treatment.

Medical-grade DilatorsWhen used properly, vaginal dilators are very helpful with certain parts of vaginismus treatment. Vaginal Dilators can be very effective tools in helping to eliminate the PC muscle reflex, the underlying cause of vaginismus tightness, burning, and penetration difficulties. Dilators help enable women to have precise control over the size, speed, and angle of insertions and provide a substitute means to trigger the PC reflex in a sex-like context. Together with appropriate exercises, as women consciously and consistently squeeze and relax the PC muscles with dilator insertions, they learn how to override the involuntary muscle contractions that had previously caused tightness or closed the entrance to the vagina to sex. The process helps create new ‘muscle memories’. Through the proper use of dilators, women can more easily develop control over involuntary tightness and simultaneously desensitize their vaginal muscles, body and mind to the sensation of having something in their vagina. This is all done as transition preparation for inserting the “real thing” (i.e. the man’s penis) without pain or tightness. Together with appropriate exercises, they help women retrain their bodies to respond correctly to penetration and to transition to fully pain-free intercourse.

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Using dilators without a program?

There is more to treating vaginismus than simply using dilators.

The use of dilators alone, without any program or professional direction, is usually frustrating and ineffective. The falsely perpetuated idea that vaginismus treatment is simply about inserting graduated dilators to stretch the vaginal opening has caused many women unnecessary heartache and lost years. Aspects of vaginismus treatment are not very intuitive. Treatment is less about stretching and more about learning how to control and override underlying problems with involuntary pelvic reflexes.

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What types of vaginal dilators are best for treating vaginismus and similar conditions?

What types of vaginal dilators are best for treating vaginismus and similar conditions?

Several factors help determine the effectiveness of dilators in treating vaginismus.

Vaginal Dilator SizesWhen choosing a vaginal dilator set to treat vaginismus, women are often perplexed about what requirements are necessary. The dilator sets that are available through this website have been carefully designed for maximum effectiveness in treating vaginismus and other similar vaginal conditions (see your physician for individualized recommendations).

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If my hymen is still intact, will using the dilators break it and will this hurt?

Hymen membranes typically have few nerve endings and pull apart painlessly.

With physical maturity by the time a woman reaches her late teens, the hymen will typically become a very thin, elastic membrane that may partially separate or fully pull apart. It normally has few nerve endings and correspondingly little feeling or pain when it does pull apart.

If a woman still has whole or parts of her hymen remaining intact prior to dilator insertion, there is a possibility that it either may simply stretch to the side or it may partially or fully pull apart (similarly true with the use of tampons – that the hymen may pull apart to some varying degree). As the hymen pulls apart, it is generally painless and the pieces or ‘tags’ of skin are left attached to the side of the vaginal opening. Since the tags often stay attached permanently, there is almost always some portion of the hymen that stays in place, even after insertions or full intercourse.

Note that with the pulling apart of any section of the hymen, there may also be very minor temporary bleeding, but if this occurs, it usually goes away quickly and painlessly.

icon-faq-vaginismusPregnancy FAQs

I can't have intercourse and my biological clock is ticking. Any advice?

The pressures of wanting children, but being unable to conceive due to vaginismus, can be overwhelming.

One of the more heartbreaking complications of vaginismus, when it exists in forms that prevent penetration or make sex very difficult, is the inability to conceive a child. The longer a woman lives with vaginismus, the more she may begin to wonder if biological children might ever become a reality in her life. Deep longings to have children may become overwhelming as age milestones are reached and ‘biological clocks’ are threatening. Women may feel a sense of desperation, yet the silence surrounding vaginismus often keeps them from explaining to others why they are unable to conceive. Questions from family and friends like “Are you planning to have children?”, “When are you going to give us a grandchild?”, “Isn’t it about time you started a family?” and others, can add pressure and further increase a woman’s feelings of shame, failure, and isolation.

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Should we consider adopting if our time is running out? Should we just give up and move-on? Adoption is a viable option for couples with vaginismus.

Children – Brother & SisterWomen with vaginismus who feel they are running out of time, miss the fertility window, or simply want to consider other options, may also wish to consider the possibility of adoption. Adopting children is obviously a very personal choice and one that demands much consideration. Ideally, adoption will not be something that is just ‘settled for’ but rather an option that is chosen carefully and embraced to enrich family life.

There are many agencies and options when it comes to adoption. Places to start researching might include visiting different adoption organization websites, contacting local agencies, or connecting with local and international social workers.

Whatever couples decide concerning adoption, we encourage them to continue with vaginismus treatment resolution. Resolving vaginismus helps to ensure a happier home environment for new children and is helpful for long-term relational health.

If I am unable to have gynecological exams due to vaginismus, how can I get through all the doctor's visits and vaginal ultrasounds for my pregnancy?

Untreated vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy.

Some, but not all women with vaginismus, will experience pelvic tightness or spasms during even simple routine pelvic exams. For this reason, vaginismus may present problems during prenatal care visits, vaginal ultrasounds, pre/post-delivery pelvic exams, and other procedures. The best solution for these tightness problems is for women to treat the vaginismus so they can control and eliminate pelvic floor tightness and make both intercourse and pelvic exams possible without pain or difficulty.

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Will vaginismus cause complications or impede vaginal delivery of a baby? Will the pelvic floor muscles spasm or cause problems?

Unresolved vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy, but will not normally impede the actual vaginal delivery process.

DeliveryVaginismus will not normally impede the vaginal birth process. Hormones activated during delivery cause a woman’s body to involuntarily dilate (widen or expand) and automatically proceed with the delivery process, ignoring vaginismus impulses, should they be present. The uterus and vaginal openings dilate with natural prompting and open up naturally. As a woman pushes the baby, it moves through the vaginal canal, opening and stretching as it progresses through to complete delivery, with no adverse effect from vaginismus. Pain medication, such as epidurals are usually available if so desired.

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Can natural childbirth help relieve pre-existing vaginismus by stretching the vaginal opening?

Unresolved vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy, but will not normally impede the actual vaginal delivery process.

Unresolved vaginismus typically remains following childbirth.

Mother & ChildEvery woman is unique and every pregnancy is unique. Although every woman’s delivery experience is different, the birth process does not normally cure or alleviate vaginismus significantly. While some women, who have unresolved vaginismus prior to pregnancy, do report an alleviation of vaginismus symptoms following childbirth, this is not usually the case. Unresolved vaginismus tends to remain following natural childbirth. Some women may experience minor improvement as a result of the birthing process, but others may see their condition worsen as a result of additional trauma or recovery pain. Usually without treatment the vaginismus remains, although each case is different and it is difficult to determine what a woman’s experience will be.

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Can childbirth cause vaginismus? Can it be prevented?

The temporary pains of childbirth can trigger ongoing vaginismus sexual pain.

Mother & ChildWhen women experience ongoing sexual pain, burning, tightness, discomfort, or penetration difficulties following childbirth, it is typically vaginismus. Vaginismus may be triggered by physical or emotional trauma from birth, vaginal health complications, delivery surgeries such as episiotomies (a surgical incision through the perineum made to enlarge the vagina and assist childbirth), temporary vaginal bruising from delivery, tearing, attempting to have intercourse before healing is complete (see below), or any other temporary cause of pain including the normal delivery process. Women are often left with the perception that they are not fully healed from the childbirth, when, in fact, it is vaginismus causing ongoing difficulties.

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icon-faq-vaginismusPatient Handouts

Downloadable Brochures

Patient Handouts/Brochures

These brochure downloads require Adobe Reader. Note for visually-impaired users: Adobe provides a free online tool which converts PDF files to a format which can be used with screen-reading programs. This is available on the Adobe Accessibility site.

  1. Vaginismus Brochure

    This brochure provides a general overview of the condition including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. It is suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about this condition and/or for use in educating patients/clients.

    Vaginismus Brochure (PDF 2.4MB)


  2. Vaginal Dilator Brochure

    This brochure provides information on general uses, size range, care instructions, etc.

    Dilator Brochure (PDF 2MB)


icon-faq-vaginismusCustomer Service

Ordering FAQs

What currency is used for billing when I order? How can I calculate the conversion?

All prices quoted are in USA dollars. At the time of ordering, your credit card company will automatically perform the conversion for you. If you want to roughly calculate the currency conversion in advance, you can use the free calculator at

What payment methods do you accept?

Placing an order online by credit card or by calling the toll-free number are the two fastest and most efficient methods of placing orders. We accept payment by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Paypal, and can also process manual orders via Western Union money wires and mailed US dollar money orders (guaranteed checks or other money instruments). Contact us regarding any manual order request for more information.

What is Paypal? How does it work?

For those who are unable or do not wish to pay directly with a major credit card, paypal is a popular alternate secure online payment processing method (see that allows users to pay using a number of different methods including checking or other bank accounts, various credit cards, and other options. With a paypal account, you can order our products online by simply choosing this as your payment option.

How do I place an order if I do not have a credit card?

Besides credit cards, we do accept other methods of payment: Paypal (online account or e-checks), US dollar money order (guaranteed checks or other money instruments), or Western Union wire transfers. To request one of these last two services, please contact us directly. We do our utmost to ensure that a workable solution can be met for all women who are in need.

I am concerned about ordering over the Internet. Is your site secure?

Yes, we use the highest available security methods for your complete peace of mind. VeriSign is a recognized leader in internet merchant security and provides the complete encryption and security for our online store. To date, after many years of providing online vaginismus products, we have never once had a security incident or security problem with any online transactions.

Can I return the dilators for a refund if I don’t use them?

No, we are not able to accept returns on the vaginal dilator product. For health and safety reasons, and also to comply with FDA regulations for vaginal inserts, vaginal dilators that have been sold to a consumer cannot be restocked and are prohibited from resale.

What is the return policy for unopened books or videos?

You may return any unused books or videos within 30 days in the original packaging for a full credit, minus shipping/handling charges and restocking fee of $10.00. To request this service please contact us directly.

Do you guarantee the lowest prices?

Yes, we guarantee our prices to be the lowest available globally for our products. As our mandate is to help women, we offer quality medical grade vaginal dilator sets at the best price in the world, and also offer the lowest cost and most comprehensive vaginismus programs available anywhere.

Shipping FAQs

What shipping methods are available?

At the time of ordering, when you choose the shipping destination online, the shipping options normally available for those countries will appear. If you desire other options than what is offered during this process, please contact us directly before completing the transaction.

How soon will you ship after my order is placed?

We ship immediately, typically either the same or next business day as when the order is placed.

Where do your products ship from?

All products are shipped from within the U.S.A.

What appears on the packaging? What will it say on the shipping waybills and/or customs declaration form?

We respect privacy with the utmost sensitivity and discreetness. Everything on the waybill is generic and discreet, to protect privacy. Your order will arrive in plain white packaging. The words “vaginismus”, “” nor any related term will not appear on the box or waybills. A generic shipping company name is used for all waybills and on international orders with customs declaration forms, the name of the products will be indicated as ‘educational kit’ or other similar variant to protect privacy.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes, we regularly ship worldwide. As our mandate is to help as many women with vaginismus as possible, we are willing to attempt to get the products to any country, no matter how ‘closed’ it may be. For some countries, a ‘letter of necessity’ from a physician can be helpful. We have successfully shipped to some of the remotest destinations in the world.

Will there be any customs charges or duties?

On international orders (outside the U.S.A.), every country has their own individual rules for determining applicable customs charges, taxes, or duties. The customer is responsible for all such charges and any applicable courier customs processing fees. However in most cases, these charges are minimal.

Privacy FAQs

What is your privacy policy?

We maintain the highest respect for the privacy and confidentiality of all data from visitors and customers of this website. Our mission is to help couples with vaginismus sexual pain or penetration difficulties and related problems. For this reason, we go to great lengths to ensure couple’s privacy, confidentiality, and complete security. As such, we have very strict principles:

  • We do not share information with third parties.
  • We use full Verisign encryption in our store, the best and most well known security technology to ensure that your data is completely safe for purchasing online or by telephone.
  • All our products are shipped with ‘Privacy Packaging’ meaning that there are no references to the products or website on the packaging, labels, waybills, or customs forms (everything is done with generic terms or names). You will not be embarrassed to receive our packages as there will be no indication as to the nature of what is in the packages.
  • We do not spam or make unsolicited calls.
  • We will not try to ‘sell’ you anything. If you make a purchase with us, you will not be contacted about other products or services from us or others nor will we allow anyone else to access information to allow this to occur.
  • Customer service is our highest priority. Our mission is to help people, and anything contrary to that will be avoided. If for some reason there is a problem, we will rectify it immediately to the full satisfaction of the customer.

Customer Service Questions

“I can recommend use of this resource by all patients with vaginismus” – APTA Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy
– Beth Shelly, PT, BCIA-PMDB

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Join Our Online Community

Don’t go through vaginismus alone! The exclusive Vaginismus Forum Pass allows women to anonymously access the helpful and private vaginismus community. Included with books and kits.

Learn More

Join Our Online Community

Don’t go through vaginismus alone! The exclusive Vaginismus Forum Pass allows women to anonymously access the helpful and private vaginismus community. Included with books and kits.

Learn More