Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Treatment of vaginismus

Treatment of vaginismus

Psychological approaches

One way of reducing anxiety associated with the sexual act is through the use of sensate focus techniques, with a gradual progression to genital touching. However, the most common treatment of vaginismus involves systematic desensitization together with the use of graded dilators. This may be conducted in combination with education, homework assignments and cognitive or relaxation therapy. In this procedure, the woman, and in some cases a physician, inserts dilators of gradually increasing size into the vagina until the woman is relaxed and the involuntary spasm is not triggered by the entry of an object into the vagina. When she is able to accommodate a fairly large dilator, the woman may be encouraged to keep it in place for several hours every night. This type of approach has proven very effective. Masters and Johnson (1970), who pioneered this approach, reported complete success with no relapse in the treatment of 29 women with this condition.

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