What Is an Imperforate Hymen?
The hymen refers to the thin membrane that covers a girl’s vaginal entrance. It is usually in the form of a half-moon, with enough room for menstrual blood to flow out of the opening of the vagina. However, this is not the case for an imperforate hymen.
In anatomical terms, imperforate translates to the absence of an opening that is supposed to be found in the body. As the name suggests, the membrane extension blocks the vaginal canal, leaving it with no available space to accommodate menstrual blood flow.
There are some cases wherein the hymen is slightly imperforate, which means that there is a small opening to the vagina. But extra tissue prevents it from being entirely accessible. The amount of blockage can vary depending from case to case.
An imperforate hymen is a congenital condition (from birth) that any girl at any age can have.
Types of Imperforate Hymen
There are different types of hymen, and it is important to know how this may affect you should you have a certain type. They are the following:
- Imperforate Hymen – The hymen completely covers the opening of the vagina. This prohibits menstrual blood and other secretions to flow out. This is usually discovered around puberty.
- Microperforate Hymen – In this case, the hymen has a very small opening. Menstrual blood and secretions can flow, however, the female may find it difficult and painful to use tampons or have sex.
- Cribriform Hymen – The hymen has multiple small openings, which allows menstrual blood and vaginal secretions to come out. However, due to the structure of the hymen, it’s not possible to use tampons or have vaginal intercourse.
- Septate Hymen – A band of tissue develops across the hymen which leads to 2 small vaginal openings. Vaginal secretions and blood can flow. However, much like in a cribriform and microperforate hymen, tampon use and sexual intercourse is difficult.
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