Jul 20 2014

Did I break my hymen?

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Your hymen is very likely not what you think it is. Even doctors that are not specially trained for it may not recognize your hymen.

Your hymen seperated your insides from your outsides when you were developing in your mother’s womb. It is right in the entrance to your vagina (between your inner lips, where the hole goes into your body). Once your hymen is totally gone, you will feel a little ridge where it was. That little ridge is the seam where your ‘insides’ and ‘outsides’ join. Until it is fully gone, there will be all sorts of flaps and tags around the edge. It is very likely that your hymen will only be fully gone once you give birth to your first child.

Your hymen forms as a membrane to cover the hole in your body while your body is formed in your mother’s womb. The membrane will keep fluid and possible infection out of the baby’s body while it is forming and growing. After your internal organs formed and before you were born, your mother experienced a surge in her levels of the estrogen hormone. A hole formed in your hymen because of the increased estrogen. Research is showing that every baby girl gets born with a hymen. Some hymens are misformed and will cause issues when she gets older, but by far the most are normal.

As a baby and young girl, your hymen was thin, tight and covered most of your vaginal entrance. Sometimes the hymen will tear and break while you are young. Certain sports like horseback riding, gymnastics and straddle injuries (falling with your crotch on something like a balance beam or bicycle) can cause it to tear. But the most girls will reach puberty with their hymen fully intact.

During puberty, girls experience an estrogen surge of their own. Estrogen prepares the vagina for sex. The vaginal lining becomes elastic, thicker and wetter. It also causes the hymen to thicken, fold back over itself and withdraw to the edge of the vaginal entrance. Here it is very elastic and difficult to tear. Even using tampons at this age will not damage or stretch the hymen at all. At this stage it is unlikely to break from anything but sexual activity or inserting something large into the vagina, either by accident or on purpose.

Your hymen at this stage can consist of a number of small flaps, or a ring around the outside edge looking like a hair scrunchie. You should be able to see and feel the lose tissue in your vaginal entrance, if you know what to look for. Very few girls however knows what to look for. And if you do not know what to look for, it is very difficult to recognized as it will look like a normal part of your genitals.

After pubberty, your hymen may not tear completely, or at all from sex. It may wear away with time. Normally it will be totally destroyed during natural child birth.

Only about halve of all women will bleed or experience pain when they tear their hymen. This is because the hymen may not have any blood vessel in it. When tearing and bleeding, it will bleed like a cut anywhere on the body. During first time sex, there are also various other places that can bleed. For example the vaginal lining from stretching and tearing. In the overwhelming majority of women, the bleeding and/or pain is nothing major. There is no reason to be afraid of it or to worry about it.

There are a few shapes of hymens that are not ‘normal’. Most notably te septate hymen with two holes and a fleshy bridge between them. This bridge are often very tough, and will need a small operation to remove it surgically. Sometimes the fleshy bridge can break lose on one side only, and hang down on the other side. A girl will normally find out she has a septate hymen when se tries to remove a tampon and having problems doing so.

Other ‘abnormal’ hymen shapes are cribiform (a solid hymen covering the vaginal entrance but with a number of small holes in it and a imperforate hymen which is solid with no outlet at all. When you start to menstruate, you will quickly find out if there are problems with your hymen.

Having a hymen, or not having one has nothing to do with being a virgin. Having a hymen does not mean you are a virging, and being a virgin does not mean you have a hymen. These things will often go together, but it is no proof of virginity or sexual activity.

Category: Growing Up, Sex
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