What is hymen and hymenoplasty?
Hymenoplasty or hymenorrhaphy or hymen repair or (revirgination surgery) is a surgical procedure to restore the hymen. The hymen is a thin membrane that covers the vaginal opening. It forms a part of the external genitalia and has no specific function. In many ethnic groups, the hymen is considered to be a proof of a woman’s virginity. It is also known as vaginal restoration surgery. However, given its thin nature, the hymen can easily rupture, especially in women who are into athletics, biking, horse riding, or even with regular use of tampons or menstrual cups.
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Also, many women request the hymen to be repaired surgically prior to marriage. There is also a belief that it improves the sexual experience. Therefore, the demand for the surgery has been increasing for the last few years.
Medically speaking, the hymen is a peripheral layer of tissue that covers the vaginal opening. It may even be absent in some girls. It can rupture due to various physical activities, which include intercourse, sports and tampon insertion. Given the religious implications, which require that a woman have an intact hymen and bleed during the first sexual intercourse with her husband, many women opt for this surgery. Some also go for it as a gift for their husband.
What to expect during and after hymenoplasty surgery?
- The surgery takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Local or spinal anesthesia is commonly used, and very rarely general anesthesia is required.
- Done as an outpatient surgery.
- Sutures are placed, which usually dissolve on their own.
- The procedure is usually planned about 6 weeks ahead of marriage.
- It may initially feel tight.
- The sutures placed can make the hymen to feel tight.
- If there is intercourse during the period of healing, it may break again. So, sexual activities are not allowed for 6 weeks.
- Strenuous activities, including exercise, should be avoided for 6 weeks so the wound heals completely.
- Complete recovery and healing will usually take about 6 weeks.