There are many misconceptions when it comes to the topic of the vagina. Many women wonder, is it better to have a tight or loose vagina? Is my vagina too tight? Too loose? What can I do about it? We’re here to answer your questions and put an end to those myths, giving you the true facts about the vagina.
Why Is My Vagina Too Tight
A question that many women will ask at some point in their life: why is my vagina so tight? But what do we actually mean by this, and does the vagina really mix it up a little, varying from tight to loose depending at certain points in our lives? The short answer is yes. But there are many reasons why this might happen.
First, we need to explore what vaginal tightness actually is. Dr. Fiona MacRae, expert in woman’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for the Marion Gluck Clinic, told us:
'Vaginal tightness may first manifest as difficulty inserting a tampon, pain during an internal examination or cervical smear test, or as dyspareunia (painful intercourse). The cause may be due to vaginal dryness; vaginismus, involuntary spasm of vaginal wall; an imperforate hymen; vaginitis due to infection, commonly yeast, or inflammation.'
As Dr. MacRae pointed out, one reason why you might be experiencing vaginal tightness could be down to a condition called vaginismus. Mr. Narendra Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology told us:
'Vaginismus is a condition where vaginal muscles involuntarily contract. The vagina is surrounded by a ring of muscles that need to be relaxed in order to allow intercourse to occur. In vaginismus the muscles contract so tightly that the vagina is effectively closed and sexual intercourse can be impossible or painful.'
So, how do you know if you have Vaginismus, or if you just need a little extra time to become aroused, or something else is occurring? Mr. Pisal explains further:
'Often patients will present with the inability to have penetrative sexual intercourse or vulval or vaginal pain during sex. When they attempt sexual intercourse the vaginal muscles contract and prevent penetration. This is out of the control of the woman and occurs as a reflex action.'
It is estimated that around 2 in every 1000 women suffer with vaginismus, but very few are diagnosed because many women are reluctant to seek help, through embarrassment or shame. The fact is though, that the tightening of the vaginal muscles during penetration is a reflex. Its involuntary and sufferers have no control over it at all. It is a medical condition like any other, that requires medical treatment to rectify.
Mr. Pisal advises that many women are actually diagnosed in clinics, following a vaginal examination:
'The condition is diagnosed when a patient is examined and this proves difficult or impossible due to the strength of the vaginal muscle contraction. Vaginal muscles can be felt to contract tightly involuntarily sometimes at the slightest touch during examination.'
He goes on to highlight some of the possible causes for vaginismus:
'The most common cause is previous difficult sexual experience or pain during intercourse or attempted intercourse. Vaginismus can be treated with different forms of counselling, cognitive and physical therapy. Using local anaesthetic cream along with graduated vaginal dilators can also help.'
If you think that you may be suffering with vaginismus, make an appointment to see your doctor, so that you can talk about the course of treatment that is best for you.
Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginal tightness. In the UK, the most common STI is chlamydia (estimated to affect around 1 in 10 sexually active young people in the UK), which can be a major cause of painful intercourse.
Although up to 80% of infected women can experience no symptoms at all, those that do report a change in vaginal discharge, pain when peeing, pain during sex and bleeding after sex or between periods.
However, it is not just chlamydia. Dr. Shivani Dattani, GP at London Gynaecology, told us:
'Thrush or other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea and herpes can cause painful intercourse. Usually women would have a discharge or an itching or burning sensation in the vagina. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment will resolve this temporary problem.'
If you are concerned about chlamydia or any other STI, make an appointment with your GP or visit a sexual health clinic to get tested and treated. Leaving an STI untreated can cause further complications and infections that can have long lasting negative effects, so don’t be embarrassed and always practise safe sex.
Yeast infections happen when the delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and an overgrowth of yeast occurs. Symptoms include a burring, itching sensation in the vagina, which can lead to a feeling of tightness and pain during sex. You might also notice a change in discharge too.
Yeast infections are common and easily treated with over the counter medications.
Dyspareunia is a medical term given for painful sexual intercourse and can affect almost 3 out of 4 woman at some point in their lifetimes. If you are experiencing pain during sex, it is important to investigate the potential reasons why, so that you can rule out infection or other conditions such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
There is no getting away from the fact that your body is going to change following pregnancy and childbirth, and that includes your vagina too. Contrary to popular belief, though, for some women childbirth can actually lead to a tightening of the vagina, as opposed to loosening as many would presume.
This is due to the fact that the very clever vagina, after loosening up to accommodate the pushing out of a baby, naturally tightens following childbirth in order to return to its previous state. In fact, pelvic floor tone is actually a lot higher after childbirth.
Another reason why your vagina might feel tighter after childbirth is down to hormones. As levels of oestrogen are decreasing after birth, the vagina becomes thinner and dryer and breastfeeding can lower the levels even more.
Again, we can thank hormones for vaginal tightness experienced during the menopause. It is all down to falling levels of oestrogen; during the menopause, the body stops producing this hormone altogether, and this is completely normal.
Oestrogen is responsible for keeping the vaginal walls thick and lubricated, so when it drops off during menopause it is normal to experience dryness, leading to feelings of tightness in the vagina.
Some cancer treatments can also block oestrogen and lead to vaginal dryness, causing a feeling of tightness. Speak to your doctor about your treatments and what you can do to make things more comfortable.
Is It Better To Have A Tight or Loose Vagina?
Another myth when it comes to the vagina is that it can be ‘too loose’, but this really isn't the case. The vagina is elastic. It is supposed to stretch and tighten in order to accommodate objects entering, and to facilitate childbirth too. Yes, it loosens over time, but ultimately the muscles down there will continually expand and retract in order to perform their functions.
Because the vagina will never completely lose its stretch, or the ability to tighten, the question of whether or not it is better to have a tight or loose vagina is difficult to answer. A common misconception is that a loose vagina is a sign of a women having had ‘too much’ sex – but this is nothing more than an outdated way to shame sexually active women. The truth is, only age and childbirth can affect the elasticity of your vagina.
If you are concerned about the muscles in your vagina being ‘too loose’, speak to your healthcare provider who can recommend pelvic floor exercise, yoga poses for pelvic floor or even vagina weightlifting to help strengthen them up. Our sports period pants collection is perfect to help you feel confident when active. If you are concerned that your vagina is too tight, make an appointment to get to the bottom of why this could be happening.
My Vagina Is Too Tight
As already discussed, there can be many reasons why your vagina is too tight, but luckily there are steps you can take to rectify the issue. If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, try using a lubricant during sex to make things more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you experience pain during sex, it is alway a good idea to speak to your doctor so that you can rule out issues that can cause tightness. Understandably, it can be embarrassing, but remember that you are not alone in this, and your doctor will have heard it all before. It is important to investigate what is happening and why, so that you can get the right treatment to help.