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Is my vagina ruined? (Anonymous)

March 18, 2013

It took me awhile to conceive my 1st child, so when I found out I was pregnant I was thrilled. It didn’t take long though for my anxiety to set in and for my body issues to only be exasperated by my growing and changing physique. I gained 60 pounds during those 9 months. For someone who was abused and constantly told I was ugly and fat as a child by my father, this really put me in a bad place. I tend to gain weight very easily and a lot of it was water weight but it was still something I felt shame for. Every single time I went to my checkups, I dreaded the scale. I worried about what people thought of me, I hated the way I looked and didn’t want pictures taken of my pregnant belly. Fast forward to now, my son just turned 2. He amazes me every.single.day and is my pride and joy. I still have some of my baby weight, my breasts have changed, and I feel that my vagina looks different as well. My vagina is something that I’m actually quite concerned about….it’s my biggest issue. I had incontinence for the first 9 months or so after birth but that seems to have resolved itself for the most part. Sometimes I will pee a teeny bit if I sneeze or cough hard enough. But the opening of my vagina seems wider and longer to me. The hole is definitely different and seems to go quite far down, almost to my anus. I only tore on my labia according to my midwives so I don’t understand why it looks so different. Sex is pretty good and hasn’t changed dramatically but I do notice that I’m a bit softer inside and I feel less friction. I definitely don’t feel as tight as I used to feel and that worries me. I want more children but am concerned about furthering the damage down there. I’ve even started obsessively looking up c-sections, and vaginoplasty. Will my vagina get worse with each baby?? Every medical professional I saw prior to giving birth assured me that nothing would change and that everything would eventually return to normal but I disagree. I feel like this is a subject that isn’t discussed amongst women, and if it is, it’s not done openly and candidly. I have suffered so much mentally over this fear that my vagina isn’t pleasurable anymore and that if I have more babies it will only get worse. I don’t know what to think. I feel so abnormal and alone and that’s why I came here.

You may also choose to include:
~Age:27
~Number of pregnancies and births:3 pregnancies, 1 abortion, and 1 miscarriage.
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 2 year old child.

The more graphic images are available here and here.

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33 Responses to “Is my vagina ruined? (Anonymous)”

  1. Natalie Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Girl you are no where near fat. Pregnancy will change your body, and birthing a baby will change your vagina. To expect that NOTHING will change is just wrong. Change does not mean ruined. If everything is functioning properly (and you decide the meaning of properly) then why worry? I tore badly and it took 6 months to heal completely, yes it looks different down there, and seems like things shifted around a bit. But you know what? It doesn’t bother me not one bit because my vagina is not public display and my husband is the only one who has access to it. Sex is pleasurable for both of us, it took time (months) to discover that pleasure again. I’m married to a wonderful man who was always patient during the healing process. I discovered that doing squats will tighten the pelvic muscles and the vagina since it’s also muscle tissue.

  2. Kerry Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Bravo for speaking about such a taboo subject! I think we’ve become so open about our bellies and breasts on this site yet we still don’t want to bring up the fact that our vaginas stretch out and change shape and color. I’ve certainly noticed mine! It took years for the topic to be broached by my closest friends and I, and then we realized we had all gone through those changes and it wasn’t just ‘me’. As far as the incontinence and tightness, I would highly recommend squatting. Avoid kegels! Kegels tighten the muscles, but it causes stress as they stay taut and in the long run (Im talking old age here) you will most likely struggle with incontinence. Squatting strengthens the PF muscles so they are stronger and more effective, and with that will come more control to “tighten.” Im glad your sex life still rocks though, that’s great to hear! :)

  3. msantos Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I think it looks wonderful. I had a similar situation with my first son. 10lbs…gained 60 pounds…..took 4 hours for him to come out. I had a full episiotomy. Mine looked way worse and was painful. I had to get a labiaplasty but believe me you don’t need one.

  4. Missy Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    You are definately not alone. Since having 2 children I don’t feel like my vagina is tight anymore either. In fact, I’m concerned that I may have suffered from some nerve damage because it can take up to an hour for me to even have one orgasm now. It’s frustrating to both my husband and me. Someone recommeded I try Ben-Wa balls. Apparently they can help to tighten the muscles back up down there, may be something worth trying? As for the way it looks…yes my vagina looks different than pre-kids, but neither my husband or I make a big deal out of it since my body still seems to amaze him *LOL*

  5. Ame Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I had 3 children vaginally. My first one had an episiotomy….and those stitches popped after 5 days when I had an allergy attack. I cried – thinking that my husband would cheat on me because I would be loose!! He didn’t – I got it re-stitched. I would pee when I would laugh, cough or sneeze for the first year after all my kids. It stopped. But I understand your fears. After 3 children I can tell you – it DOES change. Especially when you are really excited. Sometimes, I have a hard time feeling things, so I can only wonder how bad it is for my husband!! BUT – there are excercises. Physical therapists can teach you techniques to streghten the pelvic floor, vaginal walls, and of course, our friend the keilgal. I have also thought of surgery…..and my vagina also looks very different. Not only is my whole larger visually, it’s also developed some skin tags on the tissue of the opening. And it’s darker……waaaaaaaaaay darker. But, I also know that it takes 7 years for your body to totally recover from giving birth….so I figured I’ll wait 7 years and see how I feel then. But, my sex life now (4 yrs after my last one) is AMAZING!!! My husband and I have talked about it – and if one of us isn’t getting enough sensation, we simply change positions and that helps A LOT!! Laying flat on my stomach with him behind me gives most stimulation – and in all honesty, I find that I switch more than he does…..and I think it may be in my head most the time and not an acutal problem. But I say – it’s not bad. It’s definately not ruined. Give it some time and then do what makes you happy!!

  6. Nat Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I just wanted to say that your vulva looks a lot like mine. And I’m 24 and have never been pregnant! Also your body looks great!

  7. janice Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I have had 7 full term pregnancies resulting in 7 vaginal deliveries. My first was at 18(im now 30). No one tells you how your bits change following birth. Id ended up with severe tear and lots of stitches. This resulted in a scar ridge forming along my birth canal that 11 years later I can still feel. Ive never suffered incontinence and I’ve never felt ‘loose’ but then I’ve always done pelvic floor exercises. My babies have been everything from 6lb 1oz to 9lb15oz. You look normal to me. I have body shape issuestoo. Only time I feel happy is when I’m pregnant. Sadly I only have 6 children (our 3rd became an angel) but I wear my stretch marks, wobbly belly, and differently shaped vagina with pride. I would trade my body for my children every time xxx

  8. Chelsea Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    no its not ruined,I had a ten pound baby girl VAGINALLY! I think it made my vagina tighter than before,lol…my husband always says its so tight and sometimes he canot get his penis in there. Your vagaina looks normal. The porn star vaginas are airbrushed and made to look pretty. lighting does miracles in the porn industry so dont compare. Your vagina is fine, maybe its just a little long but so what no two women look identicle.

  9. Justina Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    As a midwife who has seen LOTS of women’s genitals I want to assure you that your labia (because that is what we are looking at in your pictures) looks perfectly normal. yes, it may look or feel different than it did before you gave birth, but some change is normal.

    I think a small anatomy lesson will possibly help you. The outside structure of your genitals, the parts that appear in your picture, are a very small portion of your total genitals that are involved in having sex. What you and your partner feel goes into your body for about 5-6 inches and the tissues necessary for sexual arousal and pleasure extend out on all sides of the vaginal canal (the “hole”). Though there may be some surface changes to the appearance of your outer genitals, it is extremely unlikely that your vaginal canal is any bigger than it was before, which means most of what your partner feels during sex with you is the same as before childbirth. Additionally, remember that most of your genital tissues are capable of becoming VERY engorged with blood as you get aroused. The more aroused you get, the “tighter” you will feel to your partner and yourself. But, if you are worried about your anatomy when having sex, your worries will interfere with your arousal process, thus possibly creating the issue you are worried about.

    In your post you state that sex is still pleasurable for you, but it seems like the worst of what you are experiencing is fear that something is not as good as before. Fear and our mental state and emotions play a HUGE part in our sexual arousal and pleasure. The more worried you are during sex the less you will enjoy it.

    I encourage you to consider doing some emotional healing to address this issue for yourself and with your partner. Doing some counseling with a regular therapist or even a sex therapist may help a lot. You could also do some self education on women’s sexual anatomy. Some good resources are Sheri Winston’s book “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal” ( http://www.amazon.com/Womens-Anatomy-Arousal-Sheri-Winston/dp/057803395X ) and “A new View of a Woman’s Body” by the Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers ( http://www.amazon.com/A-New-View-Womans-Body/dp/0962994502/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363630463&sr=8-1&keywords=federation+of+feminist+women%27s+health+centers ).

    And, as other commenters have stated, please make sure you take care of your pelvic floor with lots of Kegel exercises. Yoga helps, too!

    There is no reason you cannot have more children, give birth vaginally, and enjoy a healthy, enjoyable sex life for all your years to come. Thanks for your bravery in talking about this issue, and best of luck to you!

  10. Amber Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I think you’re right that this subject isn’t brought up hardly ever and I think it’s wonderful that you posted this topic! I’m willing to bet there’s A LOT of women who have the same exact concerns/feelings as you do. I know I have had a lot of worry over my own vagina, labia, vulva etc over the years, starting with puberty. My mother never talked about it and I never knew what an adult females area was supposed to look like. I didn’t know if it was “bad” to shave down there and as silly as it may sound I thought there was something seriously wrong with mine but was way too scared to ever ask anyone. As i got older i came to realize i was just fine. During pregnancy I noticed changes, it looked kinda swollen, much darker, and it stayed that way for awhile after delivery (i had c-section) so I don’t have any experience with stretching or tearing. BUT my vagina looks very very similar to yours and I’ve never delivered vaginally! I think you’re beautiful and kudos for talking about this :)

  11. Mina Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you Justina for your comment. I was going to say that I have definitely changed over the years after delivering 3 babies, but I don’t have a midwife’s perspective on the range of normal. I love that this topic came up, and that we have this forum to discuss it.

  12. Nicole Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Things DO change, but they change with age too. I’ve had 4 vaginal births and have the very same fears as you. The truth is though, when I’m not feeling insecure sex feels way, way WAY better than it used to, before kids. DH reports no change on his end. One of my childbirth instructors told us that this fear of looseness is irrational. Vaginas are meant to stretch. Every time men get erections we don’t all freak out that it’ll never be the same again and be ruined forever! So this fear we have about vaginas is unfounded, and part of the shame culture women are submitted to. You are perfect, my friend, just as you are.

  13. Colleen Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    ^Nicole just said what I was going to! When I was preparing for my VBAC, I read “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”, and she made such an excellent point. We accept that men’s genitals can change pretty drastically in size and go back to normal–why don’t we think women’s are capable of the same? Our parts are so much more awesome than theirs are anyways! ;) I think your lady parts look lovely (wow…compliment I never thought I’d give!), and I’m sure your partner agrees. Now it’s just up you YOU to find the beauty in them. Think about what it did, isn’t that amazing?!

    With my VBAC baby they made me push on my back, and I tore almost down to my anus (thankfully the doctor did a wonderful job stitching). I can see a small “notch” at the bottom of the opening, like she needed one more stitch to get back up to the old “edge”, but sensation hasn’t changed at all. I’ve always had a little bit of an issue with quickly getting too loose, but muscle control helps that :)

    And if you want to know a secret, my cesarean affected my sex life more than my VBAC did. Sex was more painful, and for longer, after the surgery. Crazy, right?! After the first few times I had worked out most of the tenderness of newly-healed vaginal/perineal tissue (the tear went “in” as well as “down”), but the tenderness around my cesarean scar lasted for MONTHS.

  14. Kristin Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I just want to say how awesome and brave the poster and commenters are for talking about this particular issue! I don’t have a kid, not sure if i do or don’t want a kid, but this is something I’ve always been curious about. I get tired of new moms brushing off my questions by saying, “Well, I love my baby, so it’s ok.” Yes, I know you love your baby, but c’mon! Hook a sister up with the facts! Lol How your body can change with pregnancy is something that almost all women care about, and candid discussions like this are so helpful. I know that you are not completely happy with your body right now, but seriously, you look good!

  15. momof4boys Says:
    March 21st, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Just want to reiterate that this is an awesome topic and the poster is beautiful! Top to bottom! ; )

  16. The OP Says:
    March 21st, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I am the person who posted these pictures and I just wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your own personal stories and encouragement. I write with tears in my eyes…I was pretty nervous about sending this post in because of how personal it is but I feel so empowered and encouraged, and know it wasn’t a mistake. I certainly have some personal issues to deal with, my body dysmorphia being one of them. I have never appreciated my body but am learning (slowly) how to do so. I’m so thankful for this website and for this community.

  17. sara Says:
    March 24th, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I think it’s liberating that women here can be honest about this subject. I recall reading a different message board a while back where a pregnant woman posted a similar question in regards to how her vagina may change after giving birth and I was shocked that every response was something like, “NO, it doesn’t change at all, or it’s way tighter afterward.”
    While that may be true for a small percentage of women, I certainly do not believe it is the norm. I mean, let’s be honest, our vaginas opened up for an entire person to exit, it only makes sense that it would change shape. I’m not sure if women are just too embarrassed to admit it but it’s very common, just like loose tummies and saggy breasts.
    So no, you are definitely not the odd one out!!

  18. Krissy Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I’m glad that you have gotten good support. I have nothing useful to add. :) Bodies are so fascinating. I’m glad you got a good reaction here. I hope you feel better about yourself.

  19. Tracy Says:
    April 1st, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    One…..You have a sexy body, and Two…. our vaginas look very similar.

  20. Rocio Says:
    April 14th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I have a 8 months beautiful girl and I had an episiotomy. I was pretty scared too, but stiches healed pretty fast and now my vagina looks a lot like yours and i have to tell you MY SEX LIFE HAS IMPROVED A LOT AFTER BIRHT. Before I had issues with the skin that surrounds mi vagina, it was very delicate and became irritated with sex and it was painful, even got like little injuries when sex was longer. But after my episiotomy was healed I never had this problem again, and I can enjoy better with no concern of getting hurt or irritated. My couple is very happy because we both enjoy a lot now (of course,we have pretty less chances to have sex now, ’cause our baby is awake or we are too tired to have sex jajaja.

    I hope this helps you realize that some times change can be better, ang girl I hope had your body shape after birth!!!! I still cant got my weight back, I’m 7 kilos overweigt, but have ANY STRECH MARKS so no complaining

    A lot of energy for you and concern about enjoyng your baby, she or he is going to think you are the pretiest woman on earth no matter how you look!!!!

    And excuse for my english but I am from CHILE, south america :)

  21. Kenji C Says:
    April 15th, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Check out http://vaginasoftheworld.tumblr.com
    And you look great!

  22. Ame Says:
    April 27th, 2013 at 1:30 am

    That thing kinda hanging down will go back up! I thought my vag was “ruined” too! It’s different, but that thing (whatever the fuck it is – cervix? who the fuck knows?! my doc couldn’t even tell me!), it will go back up inside where it’s supposed to be (or at least it won’t be practically touching your toes and feeling pinched by your lips every time you sit or take a step). So, don’t worry. You’ll be fine! Give it time!

  23. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    April 27th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The labia? I see labia. I’m unclear what body part your doctor couldn’t identify. There is definitely not a cervix in this picture, though. Here’s a page with a bunch of cervices: http://www.beautifulcervix.com/cervix-photo-galleries/ The cervix is at the very top of the vagina – it’s the entrance to the uterus. It doesn’t hang out of the vagina. :)

  24. Sarah Says:
    June 5th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Your story struck a particular chord with me. I will be posting tonight.

  25. OP Says:
    June 6th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    OP here again! I just wanted to say that I’m seeing a wonderful new midwife and she told me that the little tail thing hanging down is a hymenal tag–just for those women who might also have one from childbirth and were curious! She says it might go away over time but that it’s totally harmless.

  26. Tim Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Dear Anonymous,

    When my wife had our first child the doctor cut her (this was common practice – thought to make the birth easier). This was done for the next two children. The youngest is 35 years old and since then sex is very painful so has been for the most part – avoided. At first, she tried so much to please me, but I would occasionally catch her face just cringing. I have therefore resolved not to put her through that pain and we might have intercourse once or twice a year, with loads of lubrication, but this only slightly helps. For all this time, although she complained that the pain originated from the incision site, we assumed it was just something we had to live with. Since I am very sexual, it goes without saying that it’s been very difficult, but I love her very much and have remained loyal. We have just recently discovered that an operation to correct this problem may be feasible. The point I’m trying to make is, if you wouldn’t mind some friendly advice… if you can have sex normally take advantage of it while you can. If your partner loves you, he is willing to overlook the minor details. Don’t forget, he is subject to the same aging process as you are. It’s always nice to look good, but none of us are immune to the laws of nature. Age together and enjoy your sex life. There are many who can’t and have to do without. This comes with many challenges. Try not to invent problems for yourself. Respectfully…

  27. lily Says:
    November 20th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I’m sorry you’re feeling badly, but thanks for posting this. I feel the same way. The misinformation out there is astonishing. I was very worried about changes to my body and sex life before getting pregnant, but everything I read said that things would get back to normal and that I was being vain and silly! I was right to be worried; my body is permanently changed, my sex life is ruined and I am very angry. Lying to women and saying we will all get ‘back to normal’ just sets us up for disappointment and resentment if it doesn’t happen.

  28. kandi ug Says:
    January 23rd, 2014 at 6:14 am

    i have been experiencing the same fears can it ever go back to its original shape and size or one has to leave like that

  29. kandi ug Says:
    January 23rd, 2014 at 6:14 am

    same here what is the solution

  30. Bonita Friedland Says:
    March 12th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    After my first pregnancy at age 40, I noticed my vagina had stretched and the vulva had darkened in color. My Lake Forest, Illinois gynecologist told me not to worry. After several years, I noticed that my vulva had returned to their normal color. My vagina will never be as tight as it was before my baby was born, but that does not bother me anymore.

  31. Susan Says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I also experienced the same thing as Bonita Friedland when my vulva darkened after the birth of my baby. My vulva is still darker than before, and may never return to its original color. Bonita Friedland is fortunate that she experienced no long-term darkening of her vulva. She must have an excellent gynecologist in Lake Forest, Illinois, because he was correct in telling her not to worry.

  32. Jaime Caniglia Says:
    September 17th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I used myotaut and noticed a difference pretty quickly from (myotaut.com). I also do kegal exercises with it they both work.

  33. Hoshua Says:
    October 3rd, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    OMFG if you think your vagina is ruined, and you feel bad for it, stop. You are beautiful, you are all beautiful in the comments, and you shouldn’t care how loose you are unless it effects you medically (incontinence). Please for the love of god, do NOT get an episiotomy, and do not push until you feel a push ACTUALLY coming,not just a contraction. Most doctors literally rush the birthing process by A LOT so they can have more patients. Be weary of doctors, and most of them don’t completely understand the birthing process, they just know hospital procedure for dealing with delivery, and hospital procedure can be almost as old as the hospital. They do not know the right thing for you if they are forced to follow procedure from 1982.I’ve literally seen procedure papers in which doctors are told to ignore any instruction involving forceps.

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