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Let’s Start a Discussion around Hymens

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As children, we were all taught about the basic structure of the human body. The sessions included discussions on the skeleton, internal organs, respiratory and the reproductive systems. But in that entire education one tiny, slightly important thing got lost. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s the Hymen.

That’s right. The Hymen, a small yet integral part of our bodies, something that we were never exactly told about in school and only have probably heard about with relation to purity and intercourse.

So what exactly does the hymen look like? And what is its purpose in life?

The hymen is a small, ragged membrane just inside the opening of the vagina. And every individual has a different hymen structure because not all hymens are created equal. In general, the hymen’s structure is such that it only partially seals the entrance of your vaginal tract, kind of like when you open Cuppa noodles to add water partially? Yes, sort of like that.  But because the structure of the hymen is complex, varied and individual to every person. It could also be to curtains on a circular window trying to meet but invariable leaving a small gap in between. And then, there are some that are fully sealed and known as the imperforate hymen. In fact, some women are even born without hymens.

There are so many things apart from intercourse that can break or wear away the hymen and you may have heard of these possibilities before. Activities like horseback riding, biking, gymnastics can lead to the breaking or wearing away of the hymen. It is even said that young girls should quit performing physical activities when they are about to hit the puberty stage.  

Your hymen more often than not is incredibly fragile and delicate, kind of like tissue paper, it can stretch or tear or easily rub away.

While we’ve established that it doesn’t take much to fully open the hymen, the actual breaking will be different from person to person. Some women may see a drop or two of blood spots; some may not even realize that their hymen has broken. But it is not mandatory for you to bleed when your hymen initially breaks because the hymen doesn’t have a huge blood supply.

Coming down to the physical details, chances are, even if your hymen is intact, you won’t be able to see it. And even intact hymens can have openings within them. Yep, you heard us right. As explained above every hymen is different can naturally be a different shape physically.

Imagine if you had an imperforate hymen, the one that is fully sealed. How would you bleed during your period days? Generally, a stronger percentage of those who menstruate will have an opening in or around the hymen so that menstrual blood and other secretions can get out.

Most often, this opening is in a crescent shape, but it can obviously vary from woman to woman.

Some women may have very small openings and some may even have multiple openings within the hymen.  Coming back to the ‘imperforate’ hymen, about 2% of all women are born with a closed hymen. And require minor surgery to open it up, so that the period blood can flow through properly. Has this made you more curious about the female body and its intricacies? Make sure to ask your doctor all the right questions the next time you visit them or drop a comment on our social media handles here and we’ll make sure we right something around your concerns.

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