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.
|Factors affecting the length of the treatment process|
|Consistency, practice and persistence||More closely adhering to recommendations, consistently practicing, and continuing to persist through any challenges, shortens treatment length.|
|Avoidance issues||Some proceed through treatment exercises immediately, while others struggle with avoidance.|
|Varying levels of motivation||Being highly motivated and maintaining this sense of motivation, positively affects the treatment process and duration.|
|Physical health||The overall general health of the woman in addition to the health of the pelvic floor muscles influences the treatment process.|
|Complexity of other coexisting conditions||The presence of additional physical or psychological conditions (e.g., depression, extreme fear, anxiety) may play a role in treatment duration.|
|Complexity of competing life demands||Time management issues involving school, career, family, etc., can rob valuable practice time.|
|Presence of emotional barriers||Emotions such as apathy, anxiety, fears of failure resulting from previous discouragements, etc. may prolong the treatment process.|
|Personal history||Some women have complex histories of abuse or emotional issues that may require additional time to work through.|
|Partner support||A partner who is informed about vaginismus and cooperative in the treatment process positively influences his mate. This support may ultimately affect the speed and success of her treatment.|
|Professional support||The encouragement and support of a professional in providing personalized program variations can be beneficial.|
|Other support||Connecting with other women going through treatment or finding support from those who have already gone through the process can be a tremendous help (see Support)|
Some women with competing life demands require a slower approach. Regardless of the pace, successful resolution is the normal outcome with pain-free penetration and intercourse fully restored at the end of the treatment process.
The apparent severity of vaginismus is not necessarily correlated to the length of the treatment process. The ease of resolution depends largely upon the individual and the individual's unique circumstances. Some women report resolving primary vaginismus with successful intercourse in less than a week even after years of seemingly impossible intercourse, while others have reported treatment duration lasting as long as months, though their vaginismus seemed less severe to begin with. Generally, if the process lengthens much beyond a few months, there are often emotional, motivational or avoidance issues, or issues related to the resolution of complex problems that may have little to do directly with treatment steps.
The self-help program has been instrumental in assisting women through the process of recovery - see user feedback and medical reviews for practical, real-life examples. While there are many influencing factors that may have an effect on the duration of treatment, treatment outcomes are nearly always positive with full success.
"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