Kallah: painful bedikot
12 January, 2005
I G-d willing will be married in June. I went to the gynecologist recently for my first test to make sure all is healthy and I was told that have a very narrow vaginal channel. This is no surprise as my mother is the same way, which required her to have c-sections for every birth.
The doctor's examination was excruciating. I asked my mother how she dealt with taharat hamishpacha and she told me that she was told that she only had to do internal exams on the first and last of the seven clean days (as best she could) and just a cursory exam in between because it was painful for her as well.
My kallah teacher suggested that I try doing a round of bedikot prior to the wedding date, which I am in the middle of presently. Let me just say …Ouch. I can't go as deep as suggested because of obvious reasons and doing even a little hurts even afterwards. My sister who's a doctor suggested that I try to use KY jelly but I don't know if that is permitted or if it would help either.
What would be my options? Should I follow what my mother was told ?? Please advise. Thank you.
We're sorry to hear that you're experiencing such trouble with your bedikot.
You should use KY jelly to lessen your discomfort. You should also be using the softest cloth you can find – you could even cut up a well laundered pair of white cotton underpants – and slightly dampen the cloth.
For now, perform only one bedikah a day, at a time when you are relaxed. Go very gently. As a kallah, you only go as far as is comfortable. Up to the first knuckle is fine. Some women are more comfortable with one leg slightly elevated on a stool. Others find it helpful to lie down.
It is important to remember that the vaginal canal is formed by muscles that can be contracted and relaxed. Anxiety causes one to tighten the muscles and thus narrows the opening. Relaxation helps keep it open. Therefore, techniques that increase relaxation (e.g. deep breathing, listening to music, thinking calming thoughts) can help make these bedikot easier as well.
If the discomfort persists, please ask your rabbi or get back to us about reducing further the number of bedikot. You should also consider consulting a urogynecological physical therapist. She may be able to help you with your bedikot and better prepare you for marital relations. See our article on sexual pain disorders for further information about such specialists.
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