Vaginismus newly defined in DSM 5

2013 DSM 5 Definition of Vaginismus
Vaginismus is newly defined in the latest edition of the 2013 DSM 5 (formerly known as the DSM V) as a “Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/ Penetration Disorder” which attempts to bring together the concepts and full spectrum of painful vaginal penetration.

This replaces the definition that has been in use since last published by the 2000 DSM IV. DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, generally acknowledged as the definitive reference by which disorders can be categorised in the medico/psychological professions. Though this new term of “Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/Penetration Disorder” seems to be a complex one, it brings together the spectrum of dyspareunia (painful sex) to vaginismus (severe pain with penetration, or penetration is impossible) and also accounts for other penetration difficulties such as tampon use, finger penetration, difficulty with gynaecological examinations and of course intercourse.

As such this diagnosis becomes part of the following spectrum of vaginal penetration disorders that are also defined as:

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
  • Vaginal spasm
  • Sexual pain disorder
  • Inability to consummate
  • Vulvodynia
  • Vestibulodynia