The hymen is a thin, delicate membrane (a membrane is like skin but much thinner) which partially covers the opening of the vagina in most girls. The hymen is simply the vestigial membranes of the vagina and urogenital sinus at their point of fusion. In younger women, hymen is very vascular as opposed to menopausal women, which are very thin. The hymen is named after, Hymenaeus, the Greek god of marriage and the wedding feast or song. Hymenaeus, son of Aphrodite and Dionysus, is mentioned in the Illiad and the Aeneid and is typically depicted with the marriage torch held aloft.
Function of the hymen is still uncertain but some scientists have hypothesized that it protects the vagina from infection in infants. The social function of the hymen, however, has been and still is a mythical symbol of virginity in many cultures.
Many types of hymen are Annular or circular -Dentate fimbriated or denticular hymen ,crescentic or lunar hymen, hymen bifenestratus, Septate hymen subseptus, Cribriform or fenestrated, Complete absence of hymen,Imperforate hymen or Microperforate hymen.
Tearing of hymen may occur due to one of the following reasons:
- First intercourse (coitus) specially posteriorly or posterolaterally in two or more portions.
- Sports like bicycling, horseback riding, gymnastics,Tampons, Masturbation Rape, Rupture of the hymen is accompanied by slight bleeding, which stop spontaneously. But, in some cases, the hymen may not be lacerated even with repeated coitus ( wide or elastic hymen ).
- A woman’s future can hang, literally, by a membrane. In some societies, the hymen must be intact in unmarried women as proof of virginity. But scientifically speaking being a virgin is not about whether a woman’s hymen is intact or broken.
- Surgery to restore hymen is known by various names such as Hymenorrhaphy, hymenoplasty or Hymen restoration or Hymen replacement surgery or Restoration of the hymenal ring.
- Carefully reconstructing the hymen from it’s remnants if present.
- Hymen Replacement surgery, when the hymenal remnants are insufficient by vaginal flaps.
- Hymenoplasty generally takes about one to two hours, with patients able to return to work the next day. Restoration of the hymen is done on an outpatient basis, under local anesthesia or sedation. Prior to surgery, patients are required to have a pre-surgical consultation and thorough gynecological examination. During this time, she should communicate her needs and expectations to the doctor, and in turn, will learn of the possible risks and benefits to hymenoplasty. The sutures used in surgery are dissolvable. One should allow it to heal and avoid getting married for six weeks after surgery
Labia and Clitoris surgery:
In majority of females, the labia minora (inner genital “lips”) are seen only when the legs are wide apart, however in some women, large labia minora are visible even if the legs are not apart, or are barely separated, cause embarrassment, discomfort & difficulty in relationships. Many women are born with large or irregular labia. Others develop this condition after childbirth or with aging. Therefore, many women with asymmetric or large labia choose to make the labia smaller, more defined, and more appealing through a procedure known as “labiaplasty” or labia minora reduction. Reshaping or reducing the external appearance of the vagina can boost self esteem and enhance sexual enjoyment.
Length of surgery is around 1 to 2 hours. All sutures used are absorbable and therefore do not need to be removed. After surgery, wearing a menstrual-type pad is necessary to absorb the drainage and to provide padding and protection to the area. After surgery some swelling & bruising is expected, intercourse is to be avoided for 6 weeks & you can be back to work within 1 week.