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A woman can have two hymens + other facts about hymen

If you think the hymen is all about virginity, then you couldn't be more WRONG!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : September 18, 2017 11:03 AM IST

Hymen -- If you want to know more about it, you're on the right page as we are going to explore the topic to help you out! Did you know that an intact hymen is not always an indicator of virginity? Read on for more such facts.

1. Physiologically, the hymen is a thin piece of tissue that is present on the vaginal wall. Mostly, it appears as a fringe of tissue around the vaginal opening [1].

2. Around 10 15% of women don t have a hymen at birth. So the question of breaking the hymen and losing the virginity doesn't exist. Also read about does it hurt to lose your virginity (and what you can do about it).

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3. Although the hymen has always been associated with virginity, it can stretch irrespective of whether you have had intercourse or not. In fact, it can break and change when playing sports, inserting a tampon, during masturbation or for no reason at all.

4. Did you know the hymen is also known as cherry, virgin veil or maidenhead? (Now you know what people mean when they talk about popping your cherry!)

5. In one in every 200 women, the hymen's opening is so small that it becomes difficult to even to insert a finger or tampon. In such a case, a simple surgery to snip the excessive tissue is all you need. [2]

6. A woman can get pregnant even if the hymen is intact. This is because of the small opening in the hymen that allows the sperm to enter the vagina and lead to pregnancy. So the hymen is still intact but you are pregnant. [2] Here's more on is it possible to be pregnant and still be a virgin?

7. Did you know vaginal birth can change the hymen's appearance? It not only makes it less visible but also stretches or smoothens it out. [2]

8. After the hymen breaks, it can leave a circle of small pink 'tags' at the lower end of the vagina known as hymenal tags, which usually shrink over time. However, if these are painful, then surgery is an option. [2]

9. Researchers believe that there is no purpose for the hymen. During the developmental process, the internal reproductive organs and vagina developed separately from the external reproductive organs. However, the hymen was left of the body wall that separated the internal and external reproductive organs. [2]

10. In postmenopausal women who didn't give birth vaginally or didn't have regular penetrative sex, the hymen might close up again. So if the woman wants to have sex, then she might need to consult a gynaecologist to reopen the hymen. [2]

11. Imperforate hymen is a common problem with the hymen in which it doesn't have an opening. The other type of hymen known as microperforate, which means the hymen has very small openings.

12. Did you know there also exists septate hymen? It is a type of hymen where the membrane has two openings instead of one, so it means you have two hymens. [3] Also, read about these 6 fascinating facts about your hymen.

13. When you are born, the hymen tends to be thick and prominent. However, with time, the tissue thins and the opening widens. [3]

14. The hymen of every woman looks different. It might differ in the size, colour or shape. It might look like a rosepetal, half moon, a carnation or a jigsaw puzzle. [3]

15. Just like humans, other mammals such as guinea pigs, elephants, rats, moles, seals, lemurs, and chimps also have a hymen. In fact in guinea pigs, the hymen dissolves when fertile allowing them to mate and grows back when not fertile, completely blocking the vagina. [2] Also read about the 6 things you ought to know about the clitoris.

References:

  1. Loughlin, M. H. (1997). Hymeneutics: Interpreting Virginity on the Early Modern Stage. Bucknell University Press.
  2. Boston Women's Health Book Collective. (1998). Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century: A Book by and for Women. Touchstone Books.
  3. Blank, H. (2008). Virgin: The untouched history. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

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