There are no epidemiological studies examining the population prevalence of vaginismus. This may be true since such a study would probably require a stressful gynecological examination that sufferers might often prefer to avoid. As a result, there have been dramatically varying estimates regarding the prevalence of this problem. Some such as Masters and Johnson claim that it is a relatively rare condition,[3,6] while others suggest that it is one of the most common female psychosexual dysfunctions.[7–10] Although the population prevalence remains unknown, the prevalence rates in clinical settings have been reported to range between 5–17%.
In a British study, Ogden and Ward examined the help-seeking behaviours of women suffering from vaginismus and found that the professional most frequently consulted was the general practitioner. Unfortunately, their respondents reported that general practitioners were the least helpful health professional they consulted. Overall, there was general dissatisfaction with available help, which may reinforce many vaginismic women's pre-existing avoidance in seeking help. This is consistent with Shifren et al.'s findings in the USA that only a third of women with 'any distressing sexual problem' consult. According to their sample, the barriers for receiving professional help were poor self perceived health and embarrassment in discussing sexual problems.
Women's Health. 2010;6(5):705-719. © 2010
Future Medicine Ltd.