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Problem With Transvaginal Ultrasound Part 2

Published: August 27, 2012
Dear Problem With Transvaginal Ultrasound Part 2,
I was the girl who recently wrote to you about a transvaginal ultrasound that went horribly wrong. Thank you for informing me about the state medical board. I also plan to talk to the patient advocate at this office. However, one of my original questions remains unanswered, and your response means a great deal to me because I'm still very worried about this. I have explained that my vagina is smaller than average, and while the opening looks the same, I'm afraid that I am larger on the inside because of the giant transducer being driven into my narrow part. This really upsets me because I'm a virgin and fear that my vaginal size has already changed without my consent. I'm also confused about how sex can tear a hymen while apparently large transducers cannot. I was informed that it didn't matter that I was a virgin and that this would not alter my hymen. I now see that this is true, but how could that be? Why does it matter if it's a penis or a wand? I imagine that most penises are smaller than this huge ultrasound wand. - Problem with transvaginal ultrasound Part 2

Dear Problem With Transvaginal Ultrasound Part 2,

It sounds like you are concerned that the wand used in your transvaginal ultrasound caused physical damage or changed the shape of your vagina. As we said in our last response, TeenHealthFX cannot imagine that any kind of physical damage occurred in the area. In addition, we cannot imagine that the shape or size of your vagina would have been altered because of this procedure. If you have concerns about the shape or size of your vagina, or want to make sure that everything is medically okay, then we recommend you meet with a reputable gynecologist who can do a pelvic examination and answer your questions/respond to your concerns.

As for your question about your hymen, it seems that you are concerned that a broken or stretched hymen implies something about your status as a virgin. Throughout history some cultures have considered an intact hymen as proof of a woman’s purity – there are continued psychological and cultural impacts of this belief today. However, medically speaking this concept of an intact hymen is a myth. There are many things which can cause the hymen to tear. Sex and the use of sex toys or masturbation can stretch or tear a hymen, but the hymen can also be stretched or torn by tampon use, gynecological exams or procedures, and even physical activities such as horseback riding, gymnastics or dance. So a stretched or broken hymen is definitely not an indication that a woman has been sexually active.

Finally, it seems like you are feeling very distraught in general about your status of a virgin. If you have never had sex with another person, then FX would consider you a virgin. Having a torn hymen from a medical procedure or having a wand for a transvaginal ultrasound inserted into your vagina does not mean you have had sex and does nothing to alter your virginity. If you continue to experience distress over this issue, FX recommends you sort out your feelings with a trusted adult such as a family member, a reputable doctor, or a private therapist.

For more information, you can read Planned Parenthood’s information on What is Virginity?

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

 If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

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