For years, my friend was unable to insert a tampon and didn’t know why. If you have similar experiences, this article is for you!
Feeling as if you are the only person in the world with your symptoms, or not being able to understand why your body is behaving in a certain way, is scary for any person at any age or stage of his/her life. I recently spoke with someone who wanted to make sure her story was told, and other young women had information on a condition that is otherwise noticeably absent from online women’s health communities; hymenectomies and imperforated hymens.
First, some background information.
About one in 1,000 women have a fully imperforated hymen, where the hymen is completely closed and she is unable to menstruate or insert anything into her vagina at all. Partially perforated hymens are more common among young women, who are often unable to insert a tampon or a finger, but still able to bleed.
There are two procedures used to treat imperforated hymens:
1. Hymenectomy: Removal of the full hymen – done under anesthesia.
2. Hymenotomy: Expands the opening of a hymen that isn’t fully ruptured – can usually be done in a normal doctor’s visit under local anesthesia.
Question: When did you first realize that there was something different about your vagina?
Answer: When I first got my period and tried to put in a tampon, I couldn’t get it in, no matter what I tried – slim tampons, KY Jelly, etc. People kept telling me that probably, my muscles just weren’t relaxed enough and my poor mother assumed forever that I was just doing it wrong, or that she was trying to teach me wrong. It was very frustrating for both of us! I especially hated how I couldn’t swim or do other things when I had my period. I remember a particularly bad night right before I left for summer camp, when I made my mom try to help me put a tampon in for three hours. No success. My period and my inability to use tampons caused me plenty of embarrassment during camp that summer.
Question: How did you decide to do something about this problem?