Aunt Vadge: has fingering ruined my vagina?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

(I am a virgin.) So my boyfriend fingered me rough one night, and it didn’t hurt afterwards or anything, but I used the bathroom and noticed I was bleeding a little, so I put a tampon in. Then later that night, I noticed I bled in my underwear, but after that no blood.

Now I have been cramping really bad ever since, but it’s rare when I get my period because my hormones are messed up. But I have had a period the last past two months for like three days…

I am worried I messed something up in my vagina. I have bad anxiety also and it’s making this 10x worse. Please help.

Yours,
Anxious

Dear Anxious,

You have almost certainly not messed up anything in your vagina – cramping is caused by your uterus, not your vagina, so if you are cramping in your uterus, you are most likely having period-related symptoms. This could also be ovulation pains, and other mysterious goings ons of the reproductive system. This happens mid-cycle as well as near your period, and could occur seemingly randomly if you have irregular periods.

It’s important that you try to find ways to manage the learned response of anxiety – you will end up making yourself really sick, since adrenaline and cortisol (the things that cause you to feel anxious in your body – fast heartbeat, sweaty, nervous, fight or flight-type stuff) actually block many other processes in your body from working properly – digestion, thyroid, hormones.

This includes your reproductive hormones – adrenaline and cortisol can stop your periods. The reason is, if you have to run from a bear, you don’t need your digestion to work, you need your arms and legs to work. Constantly feeling anxious means your body isn’t getting much else done.

This means investigating meditation, mindfulness, quiet time, herbal medicine for relaxation, finding an exercise that calms you, and finding known ways to calm your body down so you aren’t on a knife-edge all the time. It’s really, really important that you figure this out.

Think of it as if your body was like a pet – if you had to stop the pet from feeling anxious, what would you do? Think of your body as a thing that you have control over, because the body affects the brain, and the brain affects the body – they are one and the same. All you need to do is learn how to work it. There are a lot of resources out there for people just like you, and by people ‘just like you’, I mean all of us. Me. You. Your friends, family.

We all get anxious, we all need help sometimes, we all have to learn how to work ourselves. Some find it easier than others, but our task in life is always the same: get better at being us by finding strategies to deal with the stuff that happens to us that isn’t helpful.

Feeling anxious can be caused by something you are eating (yes, food!), out-of-control stress in your life, a lack of support, and many other reasons, but you are the only person who is the boss of it. Nobody else can make it go away. It’s important to figure out how to grab your anxiety by the throat and strap it in so it doesn’t control you, and you do that by learning specific techniques to do so. It works!

If you have anxiety, you have to learn to do this or you’ll end up in a puddle on the floor with nervous exhaustion, which might seem like a relief (someone else can take over), but you are a grown-up, and this is your life. We all have to learn how to work our bodies and brains so we don’t end up in a puddle on the floor. You can do it!

There are some really great herbs to help deal with anxiety – passionflower, valerian, kava, oats, melissa… They help to calm your nervous system so it doesn’t throttle you. Anxiety can be really hard to manage without help and learning some skills to talk yourself off the cliff. A good start could be Head Space, a free meditation app that teaches you how to meditate in five minutes a day. There are many other excellent tools, available free.

As for your vagina, I think you’ll be just fine. If you start to bleed, are in vaginal or vulvar pain, have funny smells or discharge, see a doctor to be examined. Fingering can cause damage to your tissue, but it would have to be very, very violent fingering to cause permanent or lasting damage to your vagina. Your vagina is pretty hardy.

Minor cuts and tears can be encouraged to heal well with a vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream.

In future, ready about fingering and sex, so you know what to expect.

You will be just fine.

Write anytime.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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