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Definition

The hymen is a thin layer of tissue. It surrounds the opening of the vagina. A hymenectomy is a procedure to remove the hymen.

Reasons for Procedure

Some hymen may not form well. They may be too thick, completely block the vagina, or only have small openings. It can block the flow of blood or mucous from the vagina. It may also cause pain or problems with sex.

A hymenectomy will remove part or all of the hymen. It will increase the size of the vaginal opening.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some possible problems such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs

Long-term diseases such as diabetes or obesity will increase the risk of problems.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Leading up to the procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week in advance.
  • Arrange for a ride home from the care center.
  • Do not eat or drink anything 12 hours before the procedure.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area, but you will not be asleep.

Description of the Procedure

The vagina is held open with a special tool. Hymen tissue is cut away. The amount will depend on the plan you made with your doctor. Some may be left in place. Stitches will close the wounds around the edges.

How Long Will It Take?

1 to 2 hours

Will It Hurt?

The anesthetic will keep you pain free during the procedure. Cramps and pain will last for a few days. Medicine can help to ease discomfort. Burning during urination can last up to 2 months.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Right after the procedure, the care team may give you pain medicine.

You will be able to leave about an hour after the procedure.

At Home

Some activity will be limited during recovery.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or have problems such as:

  • Signs of infection such as fever or chills
  • Heavy bleeding or drainage from your vagina
  • Pain that is not helped with medicine

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  https://www.acog.org 

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  https://www.familydoctor.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada  https://www.sogc.org 

References

Committee on Adolescent Care. ACOG Committee Opinion 780: Diagnosis and management of hymenal variants. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Adolescent-Health-Care/Diagnosis-and-Management-of-Hymenal-Variants. Reaffirmed May 23, 2019.

Congenital anomalies of the female genital reproductive tract. EBSCO Dynamed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905794/Congenital-anomalies-of-female-reproductive-tract . Updated January 16, 2018 Accessed May 24, 2020.

Hymenectomy. St. George Surgical Center website. Available at: https://www.sgsc.net/procedure/hymenectomy. Accessed May 24, 2019.

Types of hymens. Center for Young Women’s Health website. Available at: https://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/07/10/hymens. Updated January 31, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2020.

Revision Information