Backgrounds of women applying for hymen reconstruction, the effects of counselling on myths and misunderstandings about virginity, and the results of hymen reconstruction

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2012 Apr;17(2):93-105. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2011.649866. Epub 2012 Jan 31.


ABSTRACT Objective To study the backgrounds of women requesting hymen 'repair', to assess the effects of extensive counselling, and the effects of hymen reconstruction. Methods A two-centre qualitative study, consisting of a semi-structured interview, education, discussion of alternatives, and instructions for self-examination (first visit), educational examination (second visit), decision on operation or alternative (third visit), and follow-up (fourth visit). Results Eighty-two women were interviewed at first visit. Sixty-eight women were followed until their decision to be operated upon or not. Forty-eight percent of all subjects reported a history of sexual violence, and 37% had had one or more abortions. Only 29% eventually decided to be operated. Seventeen of the 19 women who submitted to an operation and attended the follow-up visit reported no blood loss at first marital intercourse. Conclusions Most women requesting hymen reconstruction had a history complicated by critical life events related to their request. All women were afraid they would not bleed and/or would not be 'tight' enough during the wedding night. For 75% of the women empowerment by means of extensive counselling resulted in a decision against operation. Hymenoplasty alone does not help women because most operated women will not bleed and because they often also have to prove to be 'tight' enough.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling*
  • Decision Making
  • Educational Measurement
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hymen / blood supply
  • Hymen / surgery*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Life Change Events
  • Netherlands
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / psychology*
  • Self-Examination
  • Sexual Abstinence / psychology