When a young woman visited her gynecologist, she told her doctor about a constant dull ache in her lower abdomen. The doctor thought the problem might be related to cysts, so she examined the patient vaginally. When she realized what was going on, she let out a gasp.
Michelle Barrow originally posted her story in an article for the women’s magazine XOJane, and to say it was hard to believe is an understatement. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that it was then covered by not only Cosmo but New York Magazine’s The Cut as well, I’d have a hard time believing it myself. Barrow is adamant that it’s 100% true, and it all started with a trip to the gynecologist, where she’d learn the unlikely cause of a constant, dull ache.
At her annual exam, Barrow made sure to note the constant dull ache she had been experiencing in her lower abdomen. “When it came time to schedule my annual OB/GYN appointment, I made a mental note to mention the dull ache in my lower abdomen that I’d begun to notice over the past month,” Barrow wrote, adding, “It didn’t really bother me and since I have an IUD I’ve gotten pretty used to random, totally inexplicable pains in my lady parts but since it felt new and different I figured it was worth telling her about.”
Suspecting Barrow might be suffering from ovarian cysts, her doctor began a thorough assessment, starting with a vaginal exam. After the no-nonsense gynecologist had snapped on her rubber gloves and sat down on the stool between her patient’s legs to have a look, Barrow soon heard the doctor muttering to herself, saying, “What is that? I’ve never seen anything like that. What the heck IS that thing?”
The doctor was perplexed by some strange fibers she had discovered inside her patient’s vagina. Initially, she believed that fibers from a tampon had gotten entangled in the strings of Barrow’s IUD, a contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus. However, Barrow explained that she was “a Diva Cup girl” who “never used tampons regularly.”
After all of the fibers were removed from Barrow’s vagina, the doctor showed her patient the 2-inch-long furry ball of goo that just so happened to be the same color as Barrow’s gray cat, affectionately named Donut. That’s when Barrow had an epiphany, realizing what the fibers actually were and how they had gotten there.
“With her tweezers, she holds up a glob about 2 inches long that looks distinctly furry and happens to be the exact same color as Donut,” Barrow recalled of the moment she had the uncomfortable realization. “I’m speechless. The doctor’s waiting for me to say something but the only thought running through my head is, ‘HOLY S*** THAT IS CAT HAIR.'”
Writing about the thoughts going through her racing mind at the time she realized what had been stuck inside her, Barrow wrote, “THERE HAS BEEN A BALL OF CAT HAIR INSIDE ME FOR A MONTH THAT IS CAT HAIR AND IT WAS IN MY VAGINA A HAIRBALL HAS BEEN CAUSING MY DISCOMFORT HOLY S*** AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Barrow hesitated to bring up the fact that those “tampon fibers” looked “exactly like the piles of goo that Donut hacks up every few days” because she didn’t “know what kinds of questions that might bring up,” but she “sure as hell” didn’t want to deal with them, so instead, she made “an awkward joke about never wearing tampons again” and vowed to herself that she would find a new doctor before her next exam.
In the meantime, her gynecologist “sent the specimen to the lab to make sure it wasn’t anything nefarious and I can only imagine how the techs reacted to testing a wad of fur for infections,” Barrow furthered, adding, “When I get the results back it said ‘foreign object: forgotten tampon.’ Thank you, Kaiser Permanente lab techs, for not compounding my mortification by calling it a vagina hairball.”
However, one question for many readers still remained: How did the cat hair end up in Michelle Barrow’s vagina, of all places? Luckily for us, Barrow provided the answer in her article, explaining that she allows her two pet cats, Donut and Cricket, to sleep in the bed with her and her fiance. She added that she believes some hair shed by her cats attached to her fiance’s penis and were then transferred inside her during sex. Instead of eventually working their way out, the hairs had tangled in the strings of her IUD and accumulated into a fur ball inside her vagina.
“Sex was definitely touch-and-go for the first few weeks after my appointment, and I can’t say I blame my fiance for being a little turned off by the thought of my vagina furtata,” Barrow wrote. Although she hasn’t kicked the kitties out of her room completely, Barrow has enacted some preventative measures, writing that she now cleans the sheets of her bed regularly, only allows the cats to sleep on the top quilt, and asks her fiance to shower before sex.
What’s more, she has also purchased a speculum online so that she can examine herself if she starts to experience pains in her abdomen again. “I just think it’s amazing, the sheer number of crazy things that can go wrong with vaginas,” Michelle Barrow said in an interview for New York Magazine’s The Cut. “I think the moral of the story is that vaginas are crazy mysterious enigmas that we will never really understand, so we may as well just write about how weird they are on the internet.”