Many women associate issues with their reproductive organs and pelvic floor with sexuality, believing that there are certain conditions that only affect sexually active women. And of course it’s true that sexually active women are at risk of unwanted pregnancy and STIs. But all women, even virgins, need to take their pelvic health seriously.
There is no connection between virginity and pelvic floor dysfunction, and you can develop pelvic issues at any point in your life. Even if you are not yet sexually active, you should seek medical help for any pelvic issues you are facing.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Virginity
Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when your pelvic floor muscles are either too tight or too weak to relax and function properly. Your pelvic floor muscles are responsible for bladder and bowel control, and they contribute to sexual sensations, so pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to issues like incontinence and constipation.
You do not have to be sexually active to experience pelvic floor dysfunction. In fact, vaginismus, a condition that occurs when women involuntarily contract their pelvic floor muscles, can make penetrative sex extremely painful and sometimes impossible. Many women with vaginismus are unable to lose their virginity or enjoy penetrative sex without treatment.
Other Pelvic Issues
Just because a women’s hymen is intact, she can still have issues with her reproductive and pelvic organs. For example, endometriosis is a very common condition that impacts over 6.5 million women in the US alone, and it doesn’t discriminate between virgins and non-virgins. It happens when endometrial-like tissue grows in places other than the uterus lining, leading to severe menstrual pain. We don’t know what causes it or how to prevent it, but we do know that it is not caused by sexual activity.
Similarly, all women, including all virgins, are susceptible to pelvic congestion syndrome, adenomyosis, abnormal menstruation, and polyps and fibroids. And while sexual activity can contribute to urinary tract infections, they can also be caused by menopause, hygiene or holding your pee – meaning that again, virginity is not protective.
There Is Help
Most pelvic floor disorders can and should be managed or treated. Medication, surgery, pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle changes and therapy can all have a big impact. And while most of these disorders are not life threatening, they can greatly reduce your quality of life, and they can also lead to infertility issues.
And all women need regular pap tests to screen for cancer, whether they are sexually active or not.
But of course, doctors can only treat what they know about. And sadly, many women who are virgins may be too self-conscious, embarrassed or ashamed to get the help they need. This may be especially true for women with vaginismus, who anticipate that a pelvic exam will be too painful.
If you are a virgin who is anxious about getting treated for your pelvic floor dysfunction, try to remember that your reproductive organs are just like any other part of your body. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t hesitate to get medical treatment. And if you are experiencing pelvic pain or other symptoms, you deserve treatment, too.
Let your doctor know that you are a virgin, and they should be more sensitive to your unique needs. For example, they may be able to use smaller instruments for pap tests.
Seeking out a pelvic floor specialist can also help ensure you’re treated by someone sensitive to these issues. Use our Physician Finder to find one in your area.