Doctor's advice | Is it too small?
Q Doctor, I am a 17-year-old female student, and I have an embarrassing question to ask you. I dare not ask anyone else.
You see, I am convinced that my 'female opening' is far too small to admit a man. I believe that it will be impossible for me ever to have sex, and, of course, that means that I will never be able to have babies. That would make me very sad.
Am I right? Any medical advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.
A I have often seen young women who were convinced that they were too small to have intercourse. Happily, all of them turned out to be wrong.
From the outside, a younger woman's vulva (that is, the opening of the vagina) does, indeed, look small. In fact, I have never in my life seen a female patient who could not have intercourse. Admittedly, there have been rare occasions when the young lady turned out to have some structural obstruction, which was easily put right by a gynaecologist.
For instance, occasionally there is a thin wall which runs down the middle of the vagina. That is called a septum. It can be removed surgically so that intercourse becomes possible, but the vast majority of teenage females who are fretting about their size do not really have any physical problem. If they relax, everything will be OK.
Often, they have a slight tendency towards a common nervous condition called vaginismus. What happens in this disorder is that anxiety makes the muscles around the vagina tighten up. Indeed, whenever any approach is made to this part of the body, the young lady's pelvis goes into a sort of muscle contract.
Happily, this muscular contraction can be treated by following a programme of relaxation exercises, which you can be taught by a doctor who is experienced in family planning and related matters.
So what should you do now? Well, my strong recommendation is that you go and consult a doctor, preferably either a gynaecologist or one who specialises in contraception. She will examine you, and can soon tell you whether your belief that you are too small is correct, which is most unlikely.
I am sure all will be well and that one day you will be able to have sex, and then go on to have children.
Q Doc, I am a guy of 16 years. Last Monday, I got kind of carried away. I had sex with a girl who lives near to me. I was so excited that I just went all the way and discharged inside her.
I realise that this was crazy, but that's what happened. Afterwards, she told me that her period was due in two days.
Do you think I have made her pregnant, Doctor?
A Well, obviously, this was unwise behaviour. But alas! It is what countless teenagers have done throughout the history of the human race. This young lady told you that her menses were due in two days. If she was right, then the probability is that everything will be OK. Females can get pregnant immediately before a period, but very often they don't.
However, why don't you just contact the young woman and ask her whether her menses arrived?
Q I started taking the Pill last week. Three days later, I got soreness and tenderness in my breasts.
Is this breast cancer, Doc? I know that the Pill can sometimes cause that kind of cancer. I am 18, by the way.
A No, this is not breast cancer. Cancer of the breast is very rare at age 18, and it could not possibly be caused by taking the Pill for just three days.
It is true that long-term use of the Pill is associated with a slight rise in the risk of breast carcinoma, but the Pill does also help protect you against certain other cancers.
What you have experienced has nothing to do with cancer. It is simply the breast tenderness that many young women experience when they first start on the Pill. Generally, it disappears after two or three packs. If it doesn't, then just ask your doctor to switch you to a next brand.
Q I am a guy of 17 years, and I have noticed that one of my testicles has become swollen, Doc.
Should I be worried?
A It might be due to an infection. Unfortunately, cancer of the testicle does sometimes occur in guys as young as you.
Therefore, please consult a doctor right away. He will examine you and probably arrange an ultrasound scan. I wish you well.
Q I'm female, 16. Very stupidly, I let another girl caress me 'down there' at a party when we both had too much to drink.
Doc, I was quite astonished when I actually orgasmed. I was so embarrassed that I went home immediately. I have not seen that girl since then, and really, I do not like her.
Does this episode make me a lesbian?
A Certainly not. Studies in the United States have shown that quite a few young women (particularly those at college) have very brief episodes of 'girl-on-girl' activity.
In most cases, that is the end of the matter, and they turn out to be
I must admit, however, that there is a small chance that in adulthood, you might eventually lead a lesbian lifestyle. I advise you to see how things go, and do not make any sudden decisions about sex.
Also, a good rule for young people (male and female) is to not have sex when you have had too much to drink.
Q Doc, I am extremely worried, because last night, I put my finger into my girlfriend. Afterwards, I realised that there was probably man-fluid on my hand. Is there any danger of pregnancy?
A Probably not, but I think you and your girlfriend should go and see a doctor or a nurse who can give you simple, practical advice about sex and conception.
Q I am a guy of 18 years, and I am absolutely sure that I will never want any children. I do like girls a lot, though.
Would any doctor in Jamaica do a vasectomy on me?
A Definitely not. I do not believe that any doctor anywhere in the world would do a vasectomy on a young fellow of 18 years.
Q As a pretty liberated girl, I like the idea of that female condom, but how do I use it?
A The female condom is like a little bag. Before having sex, you just put it into your vagina, with the upper end of it positioned as far in as you can go. At the open end, there is a ring, and you should make sure that that is just outside your vagina. The top of the ring usually lies over the area of the clitoris.
The device is sold with an instruction leaflet. But there is a lot to be said for asking a doctor or nurse to show you exactly how to put it in.
Most important, ensure that your partner puts his penis inside the female condom and not outside it.
- Email questions to Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more in the 'Outlook Magazine' tomorrow.