Hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the opening of the vagina. You have probably heard that a hymen will rupture when a woman has sexual intercourse for the first time, and that she will bleed on this occasion. Even, though this is true, it is not always like this. It is a little bit more complicated.
Contrary to what is heard and believed about hymens, not all females start their sexual life with an intact hymen. Some females are even born without a hymen. In cases with noticeable hymens there is always a possibility of rupturing the hymen before sexual intercourse. Many everyday physical activities like riding a bike, horse riding, jumping, etc., may lead to a rupture of the hymen during childhood or early teenage years. Hymens can be perforated also during insertion of the tampon inside of the vagina. There is also the possibility of having sexual intercourse and not rupturing the hymen. Even those who rupture their hymen during their first sexual intercourse may not experience obvious bleeding at all.
There are different types of hymens. The most common type is in a shape of the half moon. Other types of hymen include:
Imperforate hymen – is the type of hymen that completely covers the opening of the vagina. This type of hymen is usually diagnosed at birth or later during the teen years of a young woman. In cases with imperforate hymen, the menstrual blood can’t flow outside of the human body. Instead, the menstrual blood backs up into the vagina causing an abdominal mass and back pain. In some cases pain during bowel movements and pain during urination are possible. A minor surgery is necessary in order to remove the extra hymenal tissue and to create a normal vaginal opening which will allow the menstrual blood to flow outside of the vagina.
Microperforate hymen – is a type of hymen that almost completely covers the opening to the vagina. In cases with microperforate type of hymen, the menstrual blood flows outside of the vagina, but the vaginal opening is very small. Females with microperforate hymen are not able to insert tampons. Even when they are able to insert tampons inside of the vagina, they are not able to remove it when it gets filled with blood. A minor surgery is necessary in order to remove the extra hymenal tissue and to create a normal vaginal opening which will allow the menstrual blood to flow normally outside of the vagina.
Septate hymen – is a type of hymen that instead of one vaginal opening there are two small vaginal openings. This is caused due to a band of extra tissue that is localized in the middle of the vaginal opening. A minor surgery is necessary in order to remove the extra hymenal tissue and to create a normal vaginal opening which will allow the menstrual blood to flow normally outside of the vagina.
Where problems can arise, there is always a solution. For many cultures and religions a female should be a virgin when she gets married. Sexual intercourse is not allowed before marriage. Hymenoplasty is the solution. This minor surgical procedure allows the hymen to be restored back to its initial intact state.
Dmitry Bronfman, MD, is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in all aspects of contemporary women’s health, preventive medicine, pelvic pain, minimally invasive and robotic surgery, and general, adolescent, and menopausal gynecology.
Brooklyn Abortion Clinic