Aunt Vadge: Is a hymen flap sticking out?

Hello Aunt Vadge,

I’m 15, I live in the U.S. My problem started about on the 28th of August.

I’ve been using tampons for month now, so when I got my period I put in a tampon. Normally I don’t do that, normally I wait a day or so. I could tell my vaginal hole was dry from using a tampon when I wasn’t fully on my period. So I was still using it that day. I go to change it, and I go to pull it out, and it was harder than it ever has been to  pull it out.

I didn’t think about it, but because it was so dry, I decided not to insert another tampon. I go downstairs and sit down on the couch, and sharp pains started to occur, it was so horrible. I thought the tampon had broken up, so when I looked in the mirror to check it out, it was something poking out like a tampon, so I went to the emergency room, and I came to find out that there was nothing stuck in me and the inside of my vagina was swollen.

I couldn’t even see my vagina hole any more – it was hard to find, but once I could get a look, something was protruding out. I just tried to let it heal and give a month, but after time went by, I looked and the swelling wasn’t as severe as it was that day, and the pains went away, but normally my vagina just had a hole nothing else. Now there’s a little vaginal tissue sticking out covering my hole, but its coming from the inside of me and pushing out blocking my hole.

I can’t even see my hole, so I’m not able to use tampons. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago, and she said I broke my hymen and that it’s perfectly normal. I was upset to find out that it won’t go back to how it was. She told me to Google anatomy which I did, then I discovered it was not my hymen.

I had my mom look and she said it was still intact. Your hymen can break different ways and my hymen looks like none of the diagrams my skin is still tight at the bottom. It looks how it did before but a little skin is bulging out of my hole. I really don’t know what it is. I looked up everything, and it really gets me down to not know.

I know this is a long letter, but I’m hoping you can help me. It’s been almost two months, and while it went down from the first day of the incident, some things not right and has not gone back to normal. 

Yours,
Worried

Dear Worried,

Thank you for your email. The hymen is a very interesting little piece of membrane in that it can actually regrow itself. What may have happened – based on the information your doctor and the emergency physicians told you – that you damaged your vaginal wall with the dry tampon (it happens, but usually heals up without any problem – don’t yank dry tampons out ever. Always just leave it in and wait until it softens up a bit.) This caused the swelling.

What has also happened, since you’ve only used tampons a few times, is that your hymen has been stretched, and may have possibly – after the damage – regrown itself a bit, which is why it appears to be intact.

As you grow, your vagina changes. You will already notice the difference from just a few years ago, with longer labia, different colourings, and so on. The way your hymen stretches and eventually disappears will be unique to your body, but rest assured that once you start using tampons again, and putting bigger things in like fingers, vegetables and maybe later on even penises or sex toys, your hymen will be a thing of the past.

Read our Hymen article, and follow the link to the the hymen stretching – you can really take control of your hymen, and you don’t have to be at the mercy of it growing back. You can stretch it out slowly and carefully each day so that you can easily use tampons, and fit any bigger object in without the pain or bleeding a hymen can cause.

If however you would like to keep your hymen intact for some reason, that is also perfectly acceptable and your choice. It may just make using tampons more difficult and painful than it needs to be.

Keep looking at your vagina, and see what you can do.

If your hymen is still intact, or in fact a flap of hymen is hanging out of your vagina, it will eventually go away, or you can see a physician who I’m sure would ease your mind by quickly removing any extra hymen that was hanging around. Keep in mind that your vagina is now ‘opening up’ to the world, and it will start to change and do things you never thought possible.

Also, don’t worry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. If you would like to see some pictures of other vulvas, visit the labia library. Check them out and see where you fit in. Vulvas and vaginas are funny-looking and flappy and really end up all over the place sometimes, but they are still functional and beautiful.

Love your vagina! And write anytime.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge