NEW: Addressing Anxiety In Vivo in Physiotherapy Treatment of Women with Severe Vaginismus: A Clinical Approach

Talli Rosenbaum

Physiotherapy for the treatment of vaginismus is perceived as an intervention aimed to normalize muscle tone of the pelvic floor in order to allow vaginal penetration in accordance with the traditional view of vaginal spasm as its defining feature. Newer definitions recognize the experience of anxiety as well as pain, and effective treatment approaches should address these components as well. Physiotherapists often encounter women who, as a result of severe anxiety, are unable to undergo examination and treatment, despite their expressed desire to do so. This article describes a therapeutic intervention designed to help women with vaginismus prepare for examination and treatment by addressing the component of anxiety in real-life situations. This approach is also appropriate for nurse practitioners and physicians who work with this patient population and may be adapted for sex therapists to teach as a home exercise.