The hymen in female reproductive system is a thin, fleshy tissue that’s located at the vaginal opening. The hymen is made up of tissue leftovers from the development of the fetus. Your hymen’s size, shape, and thickness are unique to you and might change over time. Read on to understand everything about the hymen anatomy.
Your hymen is often a ring-shaped piece of tissue that encircles your vaginal opening when you are born. Sometimes, it only covers the bottom of your vaginal opening. In a few rare instances, the hymen completely encloses your vaginal entrance and interferes with menstruation.
Despite having a reputation as a sign of sexual activity, the hymen is typically unrelated to whether a woman (or someone who is designated female at birth) has engaged in sexual activity. It resembles a hard, seal-like covering that blocks your vagina. It’s very flexible and soft, and it doesn’t necessarily close off your vaginal hole. It can be broken by performing daily tasks like putting a tampon in or having sexual intercourse. When your hymen breaks, you could have certain symptoms or you might not even be aware of it.
Function of Hymen in the Female Reproductive System
There is no function for your hymen in the reproductive system or body. Nobody is completely certain of what the hymen does, unlike other organs or tissues having a known function. Some speculate that it may be related to preventing bacteria or foreign particles from entering your vagina.
What Happens When Hymen Breaks?
While some people are aware when their hymen breaks, others are not. Your hymen can expand and is flexible like other tissues in your body. The first time it is pressed on, it typically doesn’t tear. Instead, it wears down to the point where it breaks. You don’t feel hurt right away like you would if you shatter a bone or tore a muscle.
When a hymen breaks, some people may feel pain or minor bleeding but the majority won’t. Being a flexible piece of tissue, it stretches and breaks down with time as a result of daily activities or tampon use. Many people think they are on their period or spotting if they bleed when their hymen breaks.
Hymen Anatomy and Structure
Scroll through to understand the anatomy of hymen:
1. Hymen Membrane Anatomy
A hymen can be found in a variety of sizes, forms, and positions surrounding your vaginal opening. The two most typical hymen types are crescentic and annular, which surround the entire vaginal entrance. These positions are thought to be common. The vaginal aperture is located in the middle of the donut-like annular hymens. A crescentic hymen is seen at the bottom of the vaginal entrance. It can block the vaginal entrance and lead to problems in rare instances. A crescentic-shaped hymen instead of an annular one is typically present by the time a child enters elementary school.
2. Hymen Structure & Composition
The color of your hymen matches that of the skin around your vagina (flesh-colored). It may surround your vaginal opening or take the shape of a crescent moon just below it. Due to the fact that doing so would prevent menstrual blood from leaving your body, it does not completely cover the vaginal entrance. The hymen will be more obvious in infants because it hasn’t had a chance to deteriorate.
Your hymen could resemble a little piece of tissue that has been shifted to one side if it is broken. You can’t feel a ripped hymen with your finger and it’s difficult to see. It can sometimes revert to the vaginal opening. The elastic tissue in your hymen can stretch as you move. While it is significantly thicker at birth, it gradually thins out and loses suppleness with time as a result of hormones, activities, the use of tampons, or intercourse.
Your hymen develops like your vagina does during fetal development. Your vagina is initially just a tube. The tube helps to form your hymen as it disintegrates and the vaginal aperture widens.
How to Know If Your Hymen is Still Intact?
You most likely won’t be able to tell if your hymen is still intact. Light spotting or bleeding, pain, or exposed skin at your vaginal opening can all be symptoms of a damaged hymen. Your hymen often ages naturally over time. Sometimes, once it breaks, it will reappear in your vagina as a tiny flap of skin.
You can use a mirror to look in it and check to see whether your hymen is still there. Your hymen is visible as a small bit of tissue at the base of your vaginal entrance.
Can Using a Tampon Break a Hymen?
Yes, a tampon can cause the hymen to get damaged. The hymen frequently becomes so worn that it tears in this way. The majority of the time, your hymen won’t break just once. If you’re menstruating, it will happen gradually and you might not even feel it.
Can Having Sex for the First Time Break Your Hymen?
It’s not necessary for your hymen to rupture during your first sexual encounter. Exercise or inserting a tampon are some of the common behaviors that can cause your hymen to rupture before having sex. It’s also possible that the first time you have sex, it does break. You might see blood and experience a little discomfort if this happens.
What Other Activities can Cause the Hymen to Tear?
The hymen may get damaged or torn as a result of routine activity. It’s crucial to understand that the hymen is a flexible tissue structure that gradually breaks down until it rips. If it does tear, you can experience pain or even see blood. The following common activities can tear your hymen:
- Bike Rides
- Horse Riding
- Climbing/Heavy Physical Stretching
- Vigorous Exercise
- Tampon Usage
- Pelvic Examination
Your hymen may tear if your vaginal area comes into contact with anything. Women frequently don’t remember when or how their hymen broke. Everyone has a unique experience.
We sincerely hope you now have a better understanding of the hymen anatomy & structure through this post. The hymen is a naturally occurring component of the vagina. It can be in the shape of a ring that encircles the vaginal entrance or it can completely or partially cover up the vaginal aperture. Hymenal tissue that is normal has no anatomical or biological purpose. A hymenectomy could be suggested by a doctor if it’s blocking the vaginal opening.
Everybody’s hymen is different in size or shape and not everyone who engages in sexual activity for the first time will bleed, experience pain, or tear their hymen.