To start with, what is Hymen?
As Dr. Deepa Ganesh, renowned Cosmetic Gynecologist in Chennai describes, “Hymen is a thin membrane that covers the vaginal opening. It forms a part of external genitalia and has no specific function”. Simply putting, it is a thin membrane at the entrance of the vagina that separates vagina from the outside genital parts.
Many women are born with no hymen at all. It may sound interesting but a community of gynaecologists consider hymen as a ‘vestigial organ’ serving no purpose. In those women who have hymen, it is nearly not possible to see it by themselves or feel it, even with a mirror. Only a trained gynaecologist will be able to see it’s presence.
Hymen becomes thin over time
It is not necessary that a woman should involve in penetrative sex for the hymen to break or pop. Rupturing of hymen takes place even when playing or performing a physical activity or while working out. Hymen will already be open a little and eventually as the person gets involved in penetrative sex, it stretches and becomes thinner.
If the hymen is totally closed, it is called ‘imperforate hymen’. This is a rare medical condition and a closed hymen doesn’t allow menstrual blood to exit. Minor surgery will be required to open up the closed hymen.
What can cause tearing of hymen apart from penetrative sex?
As said, sports or physical training can also cause hymen to tear (or get ruptured). Other activities include:
- Riding Bicycle
- Horse riding
- Climbing trees
- Performing gymnastics
Along with these, following can also result in tearing of hymen:
- Inserting tampons or menstrual cups
- Getting a pap smear test at a doctor’s clinic
- Transvaginal Ultrasound performed during medical checkup
Another important thing to note about hymen rupture is bleeding. It is not necessary that every woman should bleed the same amount when the hymen is torn. Some women may only bleed a drop or two and some may have little more blood loss. Some women don’t bleed at all!
Can anyone confirm virginity depending on the appearance of hymen?
As said earlier, there are number of reasons why hymen can tear even in virgin women. It is not possible to determine the virginity of any woman by looking at the hymen. One must note that hymen is a biological concept, virginity is not.
Should penetrative sex for the first time be painful or uncomfortable?
In fact, penetrative sex for the first time may hurt a little but you should get comfortable in a short time. If the pain persists, there should be some other reason why it hurts. Possible reasons can be:
- Anxiety – If you are anxious or tensed when doing it for the first time, the muscles in the pelvis region contract making the intercourse more difficult.
- Vagina may not get wet enough – Insufficient foreplay or arousal may not lube the vagina enough to allow penetration. This can lead to pain, not only for the first time but any time.
- Medications – If you are using medications for other medical problems, their side effects may cause vagina not to get wet. Your gynaecologist should have informed you beforehand.
- Urinary Tract Infections – If you are suffering from UTI, there can be pain during urination, sex and also pain in the pelvis region depending on the spread of the infection.
- Allergy to condoms, lubes or spermicidal creams used before or at the time of sex.
What to do to avoid pain during first time sex?
As said, first time sex may hurt a little but the pain should subside and you should be ok in a short time. If you are still anxious and don’t want to feel any pain, you can try the following:
- Talk to your partner – you can keep giving him feedback before and during the act and he/she can respond/react accordingly.
- Indulge in foreplay – This will lubricate the vagina enough to allow smooth penetration.
- Use water based lubricant – Such as KY Jelly. You can get this in any chemist or drug store.
- Change your position – If you are feeling pain by performing the act in one position, you can talk to your partner and change your sex position to the one you are comfortable with.
What to do if it hurts after sex?
If the pain is persistent for a long time or continues till next day, you must see a gynaecologist immediately for a check up.
Is it possible to restore Hymen once it is broken for any reason?
Yes, whether the hymen is torn because of sports or due to penetrative sex, your hymen can be restored using laser technology called ‘Hymenoplaty / Hymen Restoration‘. Hymen restoration surgery is also called ReVirgination Surgery and is performed as an outpatient treatment.
Read more on Hymen restoration surgery at what you can expect from hymenoplasty by clicking on the link.