KARACHI: Human anatomy is a complicated subject as is but when you throw in the possibility of each person being different from the other, it all just becomes even more difficult to understand. One particular area of intrigue is the hymen. Not to mention, in our part of the world, there are a lot of expectations from a woman’s hymen. More importantly, it is supposed to speak of a woman’s character (read: virginity). But here’s the shocker: not all women bleed after their first time.
However, that’s not what we’re discussing today. What we’re talking about today is the different types of hymens that exist which result in different sexual experiences for different women.
According to the Center For Young Women’s Health, the most common hymen in young girls is shaped like a half moon, which allows menstrual blood to flow out of a girl’s vagina.
The following are the known types of hymens:
1. Normal hymen
This is when the hymen is shaped like a half moon, allowing menstrual blood to flow out and not barring penetration.
2. Imperforate hymen
Often diagnosed during teen years, an imperforate hymen is a condition where the hymen completely covers the opening to a woman’s vagina. This deems it impossible for menstrual blood to flow out of. As a result, blood backs up into the vagina causing an abdominal mass and abdominal and/or back pain. Some girls may also experience difficulty passing urine and pain with bowel movements. An imperforate hymen is therefore an anomaly that needs to be treated with a minor surgery to remove the extra hymenal tissue and create a normal-sized vaginal opening so that menstrual blood can flow out.
3. Microperforate hymen
This is whereby a thin membrane ‘almost’ covers the opening to a woman’s vagina. Menstrual blood is usually able to flow out of the vagina but the opening is quite small. A young woman with a microperforate hyman will often face difficulty in using tampons or having sex. This condition too can be corrected with a minor surgery where the excess hymenal tissue is removed making the a normal sized opening for menstrual blood to flow out.
4. Septate hymen
A woman with a septate hymen will have two small vaginal openings instead of one. This is because the thin hymenal membrane has a band of extra tissue in the middle which causes two openings instead of one. Teens with a septate hymen may also have trouble using tampons and in latter years during sex. The treatment for a septate hymen is also a minor surgery that removes the extra band of tissue to create a normal sized vaginal opening.
*If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned anomalies then you should consult your gynecologist at the earliest.