The hymen is a membrane that partially obstructs the vaginal opening, and is believed by most scientists to have no known anatomical function whatsoever, but is simply a remnant from the development of the foetus into a girl in the womb.
There are arguments that it serves as an infection barrier to the vagina in infancy but this is simply a hypothesis.
Although the hymen can be easily broken in early youth through sporting activities or tampon use, it is historically associated with a sign of virginity, and consequently is considered to break and bleed on the first experience of penetrative sexual intercourse; (although medically this is not always the case as hymens come in all shapes and sizes which may not always bleed when torn).
This belief of virginal status prior to marriage through the possession of an intact hymen is still practiced in many countries and through many religious belief systems.
Therefore in circumstances where a woman has torn her hymen naturally but wishes to prove her virginal status on her wedding night, an operation to repair it may be seen as a credible option.
If you have already had sexual intercourse and are therefore no longer a virgin, hymen repair does not “make you a virgin again” despite it often being marketed as a re-virgination procedure.
Such operations have been utilised as a psychological help in child rape cases though.
The hymenoplasty operation usually takes about ½ - 1½ hours, and is almost always treated as a day case, performed under local anaesthesia, meaning that you are discharged to go home a few hours after your surgery is completed. This is often the preferred option for the patient as they are unlikely to have told any friends or family that they are having the operation, due to the cultural sensitivity of it, so cannot afford to be missed for a night. There may be cases though where an overnight stay is required.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What type of hymenoplasty is performed?
The type of hymenoplasty procedure will depend on how much remaining tissue is available to the surgeon.
In a simple hymenoplasty the surgeon can piece together the remnants of hymen, pulling it together and closing the tear with dissolvable stitches so that it covers the vaginal entrance once more.
Alternatively, tissue from the vaginal wall can be used to create a hymen across the vaginal opening if not enough fragments of the hymen exist.
If there is simply not enough tissue and your hymen cannot be restored, a biomaterial or hymen implant can be inserted instead to act as a hymen which will tear through on penetration. It is not easy to notice that this material is not a real hymen.
- Will there be bleeding on first sexual encounter following surgery?
Due to the way in which the hymen repair is surgical done, it is very likely that upon the act of penetrative sex, there will be pain and some bleeding.
Following hymenoplasty you should expect some slight bleeding for the first 48 - 72 hours.
- How quickly can the procedure be performed?
An appointment for a consultation and operation can be offered on the same day. From the time of contacting the clinic we can offer you an appointment within 2 weeks.
- What is the cost of the procedure?
The consultation is £150. The operation is £2000. If you proceed with the operation then the consultation fee is deducted from the operative price.