Approximately 2 in every 1000 women struggle with vaginismus - a medical condition where the walls of the vagina and the pelvic floor muscles involuntarily tighten. This causes a burning sensation, pain and other forms of discomfort during sexual intercourse. There are two types of vaginismus: primary and secondary. Women who suffer from the symptoms of vaginismus since birth have primary vaginismus. On the contrary, if the symptoms of vaginismus develop later in life due to a medical condition, a traumatic event or other factors, secondary vaginismus is in play. The effectiveness for treatments near 100%, and range from psychological to physical treatment. Neuromodulators are new to the market, but have been found as an effective measure against vaginismus by successfully implementing dilators, and will be the star of this article.
What Are Neuromodulators?
The pain experienced from vaginismus is largely related to the sensory neurons that are firing off signals in the pelvic and vaginal region. These neurons are responsible for signaling to the brain that action needs to be taken, as there is something wrong. To prevent the neurons from being able to fire off signals to the brain and causing these unwanted symptoms, many physicians recommend using neuromodulators. Neuromodulators are chemical substances that are responsible for transmitting information to the neurons; thus, altering their activity.
What Types of Neuromodulators Are Recommended for Vaginismus?
Using neuromodulators to treat vaginismus is a new approach being experienced by many physicians and researchers. Botox is considered as the most recommended treatment option with many studies claiming a cure rate over 90%. Botox is used to temporarily reduce the hypertonicity of the pelvic floor muscles. Botox causes the muscles to relax, so that they are not likely to tighten or spasm.
Other neuromodulators are also going through experimentation. While they do show positive outcomes, most physicians recommend sticking to Botox at this current moment. Other neuromodulators, like lidocaine, may become possible candidates for treatment options in the future. To complement psychotherapy modalities of the neuromodulators, some pharmacotherapists also prescribe anixolytics and other types of antidepressants.
How Are the Neuromodulators Administered?
The muscles that are active and causing a problem resulting vaginismus will differ from patient to patient. To identify which muscles should be targeted, patients will need to be sedated. Once the physicians are able to identify which muscles are active, the neuromodulators will be administered to the area. The dosage of neuromodulators administered depends solely on the severity of the spasms, and the body size and weight of the patient. The injections are completed under anesthesia, and under careful supervision. Physicians are responsible for monitoring how each patient's body responds to the neuromodulators.
While the patient is under anesthesia, the vagina is progressively dilated, and the dilators are coated with topical anesthesia. Patients will wake up hours after the neuromodulators have been administered with a dilator put in place. The physicians will then teach patients how to utilize the dilators under supervised dilation. Patients will also receive counseling during this time in order to relieve any tensions or stress that may have been building up. Counselors also help couples learn how to properly use the dilators, transition from dilators to intercourse, and learn how to relax.
Women who are struggling with vaginismus may have a hard time engaging in sexual intercourse, and even conceiving a baby due to the pain and discomfort experienced. With all of the treatment options that are available, vaginismus should no longer be a medical condition that anyone should be forced to live with. Although neuromodulators are relatively new treatment options being introduced into the market, they have a high success rate, are non-invasive, and extremely effective.