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Vaginal spasm, pain, and behavior: an empirical investigation of the diagnosis of vaginismus

PainSci » bibliography » Reissing et al 2004

One article on PainSci cites Reissing 2004: Vaginismus

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

This study investigated the roles of vaginal spasm, pain, and behavior in vaginismus and the ability of psychologists, gynecologists, and physical therapists to agree on a diagnosis of vaginismus. Eighty-seven women, matched on age, relationship status, and parity, were assigned to one of three groups: vaginismus, dyspareunia resulting from vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS), and no pain with intercourse. Diagnostic agreement was poor for vaginismus; vaginal spasm and pain measures did not differentiate between women in the vaginismus and dyspareunia/VVS groups; however, women in the vaginismus group demonstrated significantly higher vaginal/pelvic muscle tone and lower muscle strength. Women in the vaginismus group also displayed a significantly higher frequency of defensive/avoidant distress behaviors during pelvic examinations and recalled past attempts at intercourse with more affective distress. These data suggest that the spasm-based definition of vaginismus is not adequate as a diagnostic marker for vaginismus. Pain and fear of pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and behavioral avoidance need to be included in a multidimensional reconceptualization of vaginismus.

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