The term "hymen" originates from the Greek word "humen" which means "membrane". It's a symbol of virginity, particularly in certain cultures. In general, it is torn when you have sexual activity for the first time or when you play certain sports.
In some cases, women may have recourse to cosmetic surgery to recover their virginity before marriage, to reconstruct it after rape or even within the context of certain family traditions.
The hymen: what is it?
The hymen is a membrane that partly closes the vaginal orifice. It's about 1 cm from the opening of the vagina. It is naturally perforated to allow the flow of menstruation and leucorrhoea and is regarded by some cultures to be a guarantee of virginity. The hymen, however, is not present in all women.
In most cases, it tears during first sexual intercourse nevertheless, even without sexual intercourse, the hymen can still relax or tear when practicing sport or when using hygenic tampons, without the girl necessarily noticing.
The hymen can vary from one woman to another. It can have a different form, elasticity, or opening. In this way, it can:
- Have a single opening in the centre
- Have several small holes
- Be divided by two slits
- Totally or partly obstruct the vagina
- Be very elastic and stretch without tearing.
Thus, the shape, elasticity and type of opening can impact any pain felt when tearing the hymen although in most cases, this pain is due to lack of lubrication during penetration.
In general, bleeding can occur when the hymen tears, but this bleeding depends on the vascularization of the hymen, which may be more important to some women than to others.
Issues concerning the hymen
Some women will have to resort to reconstruction of hymen as part of some family traditions. Some women may wish to reconstruct the hymen in order to give the impression that it has never been torn, particularly when discussion is not, or is no longer, possible
In certain instances, however, the reconstruction of the hymen is carried out to restore the woman's sense of self after a rape. Some women consider that the reconstruction of hymen is a must in order to restore normal emotional and sexual life and to regain their psychological well-being.
However, the most common cases of hymen reconstruction are, above all, those of women living under the weight of tradition who wish to restore their virginity in order to "preserve their honour" and that of their families.
The hymen: how to reconstruct it?
In most cases, cosmetic surgery offers natural results.
It also helps women who have undergone hymenoplasty to recover their psychological well-being, especially for victims of sexual assault.
When a woman undergoes hymenoplasty, it is still important for her to be treated by specialists, whatever the reasons for carrying out this operation.