(first, heartfelt thanks for replies to my most recent post. I truly appreciate every word and have read some of them over and over again. still intending to reply, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed this week, with kidney infection on the heels of everything else. I will hopefully be seeing a neurologist within a week. yay)
so, a couple of months of health drama and plenty of catheterizations – by two ERs, urologists, and finally myself, now that I am self-cathing – have left me feeling insecure about my anatomy down there. even the people who do this all the time (the urologists) seem a little confused by me. the nurse in one ER actually joked, “you can’t pee because you don’t have a urethra.” at that ER in particular, it took a very long time and a second nurse to finally get a catheter in me. when they did, it was the infant sized one.
I assumed this was because I was swollen or something was wrong, but I’m actually starting to think the opening is just hard for them to find – now that I am self-cathing, I have absolutely zero problem even with a standard-sized catheter, even when I am sick.
I’m kind of uncomfortable posting a picture of myself on the internet, but I have looked through the Everyday Bodies project and not seen anything quite like me. I have: totally normal (as far as I’m concerned; what’s normal, anyway? they look healthy, that’s the point) clitoris/hood/labia. the urethral opening is quite far south of the clitoris and very close to the vagina. the vagina itself is smaller than most pictures I’ve seen, but I am a smaller woman and I don’t have any problems with sex.
the thing is, there is quite a bit of tissue around the vagina. it’s kind of like… how do I describe? oh, this is going to sound so gross, but it’s kind of like hemorrhoids, in the sense of cushy tissue surrounding the opening, except all symmetrical; no area seems much bigger than another. and smaller than hemorrhoids, but (apparently) large enough to obscure the urethral opening, especially if you don’t know exactly where to look.
anyone else have that? since I am married (this is a joke, mostly) I don’t really care about it being normal or pretty, I just want to make sure it isn’t pathological. I can’t remember if it’s always been this way or if it’s a more recent development. I’ve actually made an appointment with my ob-gyn, and I may ask her to take a look for me – you’d be surprised how few doctors have actually examined me down there after all this fuss; mostly it has been nurses, who are quick to assure me that everything is totally normal even after two hours of trying to cath.
eta: I’m 23, never had children.
edit: ok, I took a picture. it’s really hard to take a good picture of your vagina! also my camera sucks, but I think you get the idea.
closeup – the urethral opening is the tiny dark spot on the upper right side of the tissue; the vagina is within the center of the tissue; and the dark spot on the bottom is just the folds of skin coming together.