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 vaginismus. 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.
Severity of the Condition
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.
Work at Your Own Pace
One of the further benefits of the self-help approach for those with more severe cases, is that women can work at their own pace. In some cases, such as where there has been a history of severe emotional trauma, we encourage women to find counseling or other help as warranted.
In cases where there are complicating medical conditions, we similarly encourage women to address or manage these conditions with the assistance of their physicians or medical providers.
- Lankveld, J., Everaerd, W., & Grotjohann, Y. (2001). Cognitive-behavioral bibliotherapy for sexual dysfunctions in heterosexual couples: A randomized waiting-list controlled clinical trial in the Netherlands. J Sex Res, 38(1), 51-67.
- Schnyder, U., Schnyder-Luthi, C., Ballinari, P., & Blaser, A. (1998). Therapy for vaginismus: In vivo versus in vitro desensitization. Can J Psychiatry, 43(9), 941-44.