Diagnosing vaginismus 

You should see your GP if you have symptoms of vaginismus.

They may be able to make a diagnosis based on your symptoms, medical history and, if possible, a physical examination.

Your GP may need to ask you some personal questions to find out more about your condition. These might include: 

  • Can you tolerate anything penetrating your vagina, such as your finger or a tampon, and is this painful?
  • Are you worried at the thought of anything penetrating your vagina?
  • Have you ever had a traumatic sexual experience?
  • Are you in a relationship and are you sexually active with your partner?

A vaginal examination will be necessary at some point to rule out a physical cause of vaginismus, such as an injury, infection, or oversensitive nerves at the opening of the vagina (provoked vulvodynia).

This doesn't necessarily need to be done during your first appointment and it may be better to wait until you feel ready and comfortable.

You can request a female GP if you prefer, and they should explain exactly what they will do. The examination can be stopped if you experience discomfort at any point.

Referral to a specialist

If your GP is not sure why you find penetration painful or difficult, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in vulval problems. This may be a gynaecologist (a specialist in treating conditions that affect the female reproductive system), a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinician, or a dermatologist (a specialist in skin conditions).

If vaginismus is thought to be the cause of the pain, your GP may refer you to a psychosexual doctor, sex therapist, or gynaecologist.

You may also need to be referred for counselling, and you may want to talk to your partner about them being involved as well.

Read more about treating vaginismus.

Page last reviewed: 09/01/2015

Next review due: 01/01/2018