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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Hymens, "popping the cherry" ...surgery?

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Author Topic: Hymens, "popping the cherry" ...surgery?
OnceOnABlueMoon
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I read another post on here where hymens were discussed and whether or not they can actually prevent a virgin from getting a pap smear/pelvic. The answer, as I know personally, is YES!

Everywhere I read and look people yack about how there might be minor pain and bleeding and such with loss of virginity, but mostly it's all peaches and cream. Somehow I don't believe them. I am a little bit of a wimp when it comes to pain, but under pressure from my family, who didn't believe that I was a virgin as I am, I went into a GYN for a pap smear/pelvic. She pulled out those speculum (the small ones, I asked) and holy pain. She tried a pinky finger then with the same result, and then told me that I had a partially imperforate hymen. That means, I gather, that I have an itty bitty hole in my hymen, not a normal sized one.

I've tried, though not intensely, to have penetrative sex with my boyfriend of over a year. The pain is less then but it's still like a wall. My boyfriend isn't interested in hurting me at all, and he's intimidated by the idea of blood and pain, as am I. We're at a stalemate.

I've looked around for an answer but no one says anything about it. There's only what the GYN suggested: sex, surgery, or tampons. My mom was pleased to hear that I have a painful, obstructive hymen. She and my family will never support surgery, so that's out. Sex and tampons...I still feel like my options are limited. So here I am trying to see if anyone here has ideas about this because I feel really alone with it. Am I just a wuss with this pain or am I just different? Because no one else I know has this problem.

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Heather
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Ultimately, there was no need for your GYN to give you speculum exam if you hadn't yet been sexually active, and she really should have taken a look before, and a feeel with a gloved finger, before even trying. [Frown]

Sounds like you have a resilient hymen: it's not the commonest thing, but not the rarest either. last I checked, it was one every few thousand women who had one.

Your GYN also may have given you poor advice: if you have a resilent hymen, trying to erode it through intercourse/vaginal entry may a) not work and b) be so painful for you that you may develop vaginismus, a negative physical response TO attempted entry that could wind up making sex painful for you for a long time, even after you deal with the hymen. Not cool.

The surgery for this isn't really even a big surgery: it's just a simple incision, and since that tissue itself has no nerve endings (the pain you feel due to it is due to intense pressure on it pulling around the vaginal opening, which does have nerve endings), it's outpatient, quick, and as most women describe it, really painless. And your parents don't have to okay it: you can get it on your own.

Or, you can wait a little while. Over time, your vaginal discharges and menses, general physical activity and hormones may erode it more so that this isn't as much of an issue. Either way, I'd suggest a different GYN.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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The age floating around for getting the first one is 18 or 21 at any rate, and I just turned 21 so I figured I might as well. Also I was aware that some STDs can be passed through casual contact and I know my boyfriend had sex with someone before me. I tend to be paranoid, I only have one body.

She told me much the same thing, that it could be very traumatizing for me and that the surgery was pretty much nothing. The problem still is that the surgery costs money. If it was free I'd go in like that, faster than you could blink. But it costs 200-300 dollars and I'm broke trying to pay for college. If insurance doesn't cover it--and insurance is through my parents--then I'd have to pay for it. I can't do that, so I'm stuck.

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Heather
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Really, a bimanual exam (with a gloved hand) would have done the trick, and even if it didn't, trying to do a speculum exam when you know your patient does have a very resilient, imperforate hymen is just, IMO, not thoughtful.

STI screens are primarily blood and urine tests, and doing a pap without a speculum -- by just using the swab, sans speculum -- is also doable. Those three things would have covered all your screenings.

And your insurance should easily cover a hymenectomy: it would not be considered an elective/cosmetic procedure. If you really were okay with that GYN, then you can ask her about that, because ultimately, she'd be the one to say if she considered it elective or not, but it sounds like she was making clear that this is really the only sound option, so it'd be unlikely for her to state it to be elective.

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wobblyheadedjane
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quote:
Originally posted by OnceOnABlueMoon:
My mom was pleased to hear that I have a painful, obstructive hymen. She and my family will never support surgery, so that's out.

This part of your initial post really jumped out at me. Are you saying your parents won't support surgery because your painful hymen will force you to conform to their sexual values? That's pretty archaic and thoughtless on their part. I'm sorry to hear they're being so insensitive. Have you talked to your mother about how having a resilient hymen makes things difficult for you in other arenas, vis a vis menstruation and getting comfortable with your body? As Heather's mentioned, the surgery is considered a non-elective by most insurance companies, getting surgery for a resilient hymen is more than your mother making it out to be a good barrier to keep you from having sex. I'm sorry you're having a tough time.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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She didn't say as much as "I'm pleased to hear that." but I know she thought little of me in the sexual department and hearing that this GYN came against a nice barrier in the form of my hymen pleased her because she knows I don't like pain and that obviously, I haven't had sex. She sees this as safegaurding me. My family hates my boyfriend of over a year because when he was in high school we all knew him as a "womanizer." He argues that he has and still is working to change, and I am his longest girlfriend and he has been nothing but devoted and sweet to me. My sister thinks, despite well over a year of dating, that he is just out to "pop" my "cherry." He always talks about a future with me in it, asking me to move out west with him after college, or to get an apartment. He's often fished around "we should get married" lines, but often that is because he wants to legitamize and make me more comfortable with full-blown sex. Anyway...

My family is very archaic. My mother was a virgin going into marriage. She broke her hymen on her wedding night, bleeding, pain, everything. She told me herself, "You can wait until marriage. You won't feel it as much when things are lubricated and you have endorphins in your blood. You'll feel it AFTERward...Surgery is unecessary." I gathered that she was essentially describing her own experience. I don't know if this hymen runs in the family but one of my sisters has successfully used tampons. I figure that will have to be my next step.

Menstruation-wise my hymen may or may not be to blame for cramps, back pain and such, which I've always had. But since I've lived with them this long my mom and my family are less likely to accept those arguments. In their minds if I ask for this surgery I have one thing in mind: sex with a boyfriend they feel isn't worthy.

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Gumdrop Girl
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My question is: why do you feel compelled to tell your parents that you had a hymenotomy?

Can you not keep some private matters private?

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astrocyte
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It sounds to me, Gumdrop Girl, like BlueMoon is still covered by her parents' insurance policy, so either they /have/ to okay it, or she has to pay for it herself, which is difficult right now(?).

BlueMoon, I was in a similiar situation, not with needing surgery and not being supported or anything like that, but in being covered by my parents' insurance policy so having them query every time I went to the doctor. This got annoying as my mum is a doctor herself so naturally her child is not allowed to be sick unless she says so.. In the end I got fed up with it and enrolled with the health service at my university, which is free for appointments and I think cheaper for surgery. Are you at college now? I realise it's a different country, but maybe they provide something similiar?

I really hope this situation improves for you, it sucks when just because the older generation has dealt with something painful, they feel you should too. [Frown]

( and sorry, noob question, is it rude to shorten people's longish screen names for typing purposes? I am lazy like that..)

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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I don't think it's rude. =) And yes, GumDrop I have NOT had the surgery because I am under my parent's insurance, it's just not something that could be kept private unless I pay for it, and maybe you have those funds, but in my situation I don't.

Thank you for the suggestion Rose, but I'm not sure what my university offers as far as health exactly. I think they do have a policy but again, I have to pay for it. I'm so reluctant to spend money right now--and so short on it--that even if I did have sex, surgery or not, I can't afford the pill. It costs like 20 bucks a month. I could afford one month, but after that...40 bucks? 60? I don't have the money to pump into it.

My GYN suggested that I make my boyfriend at least partially pay for it, but he isn't rolling in dough either and he, unlike me, has thousands in debt from loans already because his school costs more than mine and he didn't have as nice of a summer job or the advantage of commuting for 3 semesters as I did. My parents were also kind enough to almost all-expenses paid provide me with my first year of college. But on my own I just can't afford it. Maybe the hymen is a good thing, a sign I should reality check myself and wait.

My parent's insurance stops covering me in a few more years anyway. After that privacy is mine, I guess.

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-Lauren-
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As I understand, though, and I might be wrong, hymenectomy isn't a huge deal as far as surgery goes. It's done during a regular office visit with the aid of anesthetic, and is relatively painless and done in a couple minutes.

So, unless your parents get billed for your office visits directly, I don't see them finding out. Why not call the doctor's office and ask, as suggested above? I'm sure they'll be glad to tell you if your parents' insurance will cover it, as well as any need for confidentiality you might have.

Good luck. [Smile]

[ 03-21-2007, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

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Gumdrop Girl
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Actually, hymenotomy is done without anesthetic. But it's one quick incision done with surgical scissors.

I think if you went to PP, you may be able to cover the cost out of pocket.

Otherwise, see if you can have your doctor do it and pay her/him out of pocket and avoid the insurance thing.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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It costs like 300 bucks gumdrop. I'm sorry, I don't have that money. It might be in my account but I can't blow it off, I have to save it in case there's some other crisis that pops up.

Or does planned parenthood do the surgery at some discount? My friends have mentioned some sort of hotline for birth control pills that are very very cheap or maybe free, at least at first. I don't know, I'm still skeptical because they haven't given me any numbers yet.

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-Lauren-
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What state are you in, Blue Moon? Some states offer free family planning services to low-income people or those who require confidentiality.

I've personally known PP to go up and above the call of duty, and they might be willing to help you out.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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I'm in Michigan, the Upper Peninsula specifically. On the scale of population we're pretty low, although I happen to live in a rather populous city here. I do believe we have a PP, but I'm not sure where it is. I need to ask my girlfriends.
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tabatha11
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I used to have a really painful time with the hymen too, I couldn't insert a finger, use tampons, have sex etc. I never got it checked out properly so I'm not sure if it was imperforate or something, but I just left it for a while and tried not to force anything into it. After a while (and some occassional experimenting with one finger during masturbation) I tried a tampon and it worked a charm. Now I have absolutely no problems with the hymen at all except perhaps a little bit of pain.

I think over time it just gets better, maybe it's still a little early for you seeing as everyone is different? Just don't force it, make it a gradual process and don't do anything that hurts more than you can handle.

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Heather
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Just to be clear: when a doctor says a hymen is imperforate or resilient, particularly in a woman who is through adolescence (as this poster is), it usually won't just be fixed by waiting it out.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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Yeah Tabatha, I was just going to ask how old you are, hoping there's some hope for me. I still secretly think/hope that its because I'm a wimp with pain and that I'll be able to, in moment, get past it. I haven't actually ever tried a tampon, i think, I don't know, my memory is sketchy. But I am 21, done growing. My hormones may still be meddling, like I've noticed skin cycling, like I'll be clear during and after my period, no pimples. But leading into my period my skin breaks out again. It's really annoying and it never used to behave that way a year ago.

Anyway, I'll need to do some further thinking and research with my options locally here. My mom has said she would take me to a different GYN. That might be useful to get an exam and confirmation of just what kind of hymen I have, how bad it is. Also actually seeing what abuse it will take with tampons might be useful too.

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akaChrys
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I have a VERY thick hymen as well as I HAVE to have surgery, NOTHING else will work. The only thing that can go in are q-tips with the cotton off. My brother-in-law who is a doctor advised me to NOT try to break it myself as I would bleed a lot and might end up making my situation worse. Ive waited over 5 years for it to break on its own and it hasnt, so my minor hymen surgery is already schedualed next month at Center For Family Health.

ALSO...I live in Michigan. I went to Jacksons PP and they couldnt do the surgery, but many other places around me could, and CFFH was my best option. There are many PP places around Michigan, go to their website to find out where they are located.
hope this helps.

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ASargent42
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jumping wayyy back up to Heather's first response, why is it unnecessary for a gyno to do the speculum part of the exam if one isn;t/has never been sexually active?
My first gyno exam, i had never been sexually active, and she did the full out exam, with the pap smear and everything. I figured this was so she could get the basic idea of how my body is, so that if she happens to find a change later on, she;ll recognize it as a change and will be able to do somethign about it.
But since i've been reading the boards, it seems like this is quite uncommon/unnecessary.

why is that? (not to take away from BlueMoon's post, but i didn;t want to start a new thread)

[ 03-22-2007, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: asargent42 ]

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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I'm not sure actually. At 18 or 21 or whenever you become sexually active you're supposed to get one done, partially just to see if everything is normal there... at least that's what they tell me. I was also aware of diseases passed through casual contact and diseases don't care whether you have a hymen or not. So that was why I went.
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Heather
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Aseargeant, as I explained above, you can get a full STI screen without a speculum exam.

A speculum exam is really just to have a look at your cervix (visually) and make sure it's healthy. But you can still do a pap smear -- which checks out the health of your cervix, as well as screening for HPV and other cervical issues -- without using a speculum.

Ideally, you want to be able to have that full exam, with the speculum, and that's what we'll almost always advise seeking out. But, when you haven't been sexually active, and a pap hasn't shown any reason for concern about cervical cell changes, as I understand it, when a speculum exam just isn't possible or will present trauma or intense pain to a patient, a doctor may elect to skip it in that circumstance.

Doesn't sound like that was a situation with you.

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tabatha11
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In response to an earlier post, I'm 16 going on 17, and I am also a bit of a 'wimp' with pain when it comes to things like that...all I'm suggesting is to be very sure before jumping straight into something that may not even be necessary. I was convinced that my hymen was imperforate, because it hurt so much, but it could also just be to do with angle or making it a gradual process.
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September
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Tabatha - BlueMoon has clearly stated that her doctor has diagnosed her with an imperforate hymen. This has nothing to do with her being 'a wimp' about pain.

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jennifer0246
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One note about a pap smear without speculum -- this is often referred to as a "blind pap" and can be significantly less accurate because it's awfully hard to point a brush into a cervix when you can't actually see what you're pointing the brush into (and a pap really does need the right kind of cervical cells to be considered accurate).

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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I am going to try and seek a second opinion and possibly referral with my mom's GYN as soon as I can. The problem as I see it is that I have to do this while I'm living in town on campus away from home, because if it gets into May then I've back under my parent's roof, working most of the time, and under their scrutiny and control. They may consider the surgery is their own GYN refers me and if insurance covers and all, but I doubt it.

So I feel like rushing is bad, but at the same time I do feel this pinch for time. If I don't get it done while I have this freedom I will have to wait months, even years longer. I could do that, but part of me wonders about the other implications of this diagnosis. Not just impeding sex or tampons but my cramps and whole-lower body discomfort during my periods. With imperforate hymen there would be no question, but mine is resilient/partially imperforate, which means that menstrual fluid is passed through a very small hole in the hymen, I think. So effectively I have a traffic jam. I know in full blown imperforate that causes cramping, pain. I have cramping and minor pain while the rest of my family does not. So would this procedure cure me? I can't help but be curious.

But my parents are never going to go for it, and it's gotten so late in the year it's unlikely I'm going to make it. I'd have to wait till next fall or later. It's really frustrating.

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Heather
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Just FYI, if your hymen is not imperforate, given how fluid menses is, and how relatively little of it there is during a period, it's pretty unlikely that your hymen is the cause of menstrual cramping, or the type of "traffic jam" you're envisioning.

So, when you go in to get that second opinion, be sure to bring up your menstrual issues as well, especially if your sense is that you're having discomfort that's greater than what most women experience (though just from your post, it doesn't sound like you are -- however, no reason not to bring it up with your doc). Because if you are having menstrual problems, that's something else you'll want a GYN to investigate.

And once, more, to make clear, your parents don't have to okay surgery for you: if a doctor says you need it, and it's covered under their insurance, you're not in a position where you need their permission to get it, since you aren't a minor.

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OnceOnABlueMoon
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I know that is how it should be but my parents would try every way to talk me out of it or cheat me out of it. I am an adult, but under my parents my rights are always limited. My first instinct is always to do something secretly, which is why I feel pressed for time with this. My mom, as a nurse, is educated and will take the stance that I should leave it alone. She tells me, "In Biblical times having the blood of the torn hymen was a blessing on the marriage, the true consummation of the marriage."

So in all of their minds letting me have this surgery is just totally out of the question. It never occurs to them that this is NOT Biblical times any more, we're way WAY out of the Dark Ages and out of the Victorian era too. I'm allowed to enjoy sex, talk about it, and I have my rights. But although my mom would agree with all that I just said she would also say, "But that doesn't justify this useless surgery." In her mind medical intervention is totally unecessary, just the doctor's way of sucking a little more money out of people.

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Hi, i just wanted to mention i am going thru the same exact thing, i tried to have several pap smears and i would slap the gyno's hand when she touches me with those scary things, anyways i have been with my boyfriend well over a couple of years and everytime we tried to have sex it would hurt ( i think it more uncomfortable). and for him he said it feels like pushing in a wall, and i cosidered hymenectomy too, still cosidering it, i mean we're talking about getting married and we havent done it yet. we start attempting it and we fail and just do more convenient things. I was abused when i was a little girl until i was thriteen never had intercouse but very close and lots of other things, not trying to change the subjuect but always wonder am i refusing it coz deep in my head i m scared ? or does it really hurt? it makes me sad and it does effect my relationship with my boyfriend DRAMATICALLY, but we are still together coz we love each other, but i guess it feels like its missing something and that is it. please feel free to email me at (Email removed per our guidelines for your safety) if you want to talk about anything, and if you go ahead with the procedure please let me know how it worked out for you and good luck, you are not the only one, i know how you are feeling.

[ 08-16-2008, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

Posts: 1 | From: chicago | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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