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What Is  A Hymen, Really?

You're asking the right question, given the fact that there's so much misinformation about this topic. You've almost certainly heard that the hymen is a bit of tissue that covers some of the vaginal opening in female virgins, that it will rupture when a woman has sexual intercourse for the first time, and that she'll bleed on this occasion. Though these things can all be true, reality is — as is so often the case — a little more complicated.

Why? Let's see. Contrary to popular belief, not all females start out with observable hymens at all. Furthermore, those who do have noticeable hymens frequently rupture them before they have intercourse for the first time. Horseriding, riding a bike, jumping, engaging in gymnastics, and many others types of everyday physical activity can make this happen. Some females also rupture their hymens while inserting tampons. You may also not know that some females can have sexual intercourse and still keep their hymens intact, and that even those who rupture their hymen the first time they have sex may not experience obvious bleeding at all.

In short, both men and women are bound to encounter a lot of lies about virginity and the hymen.

Hymenoplasty: Surgical (Re)construction Of The Hymen

If, for whatever reason, you're a woman who needs to have an intact hymen for your wedding night, surgery can make it happen — whether your hymen was ruptured or you didn't have one to start off with. There's various options for this. Women who recently ruptured their hymen can have it sutured to return it to its original state. Women who didn't have noticeable hymens or who ruptured them a while ago have two options. One is the creation of a strictly cosmetic hymen. This type of hymen doesn't come with a blood supply, however artificial blood capsules can be included. Another is the creation of a "fully functional" hymen that does have a blood supply. 

While cosmetic hymens are a good option for women who need the procedure over and done with soon — the procedure is recommended around three days before the wedding night — the more invasive surgery requires a healing time, and is recommended up to three months before the hymen is "needed". In the meantime, patients should take care not to do anything that may rupture their new hymen.

If you would like to pursue the surgical construction or reconstruction of your hymen, please talk to a plastic surgeon experienced in performing this procedure as far in advance as you can, to explore your options.

Removing Problem Hymens

Some women are born with problem hymens that cover (nearly) the entire vaginal opening or leave them with one or more thick bands of tissue across the opening of their vaginas. Both of these issues can create real problems, like menstrual blood being trapped inside and not being able to have sex or insert tampons. This is not talked about often, but it's a very real issue. Women with "problem hymens" can have them surgically removed as well, thankfully. This procedure is called a hymenotomy, meaning the surgical removal of the hymen.

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