Can I request to have my hymen surgically removed?

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My doctor tried to do a pap test but was unsuccessful and is sending me to see a gynecologist to see about getting my hymen removed. However, I’ve been to the gyno previously about issues with tampons and they told me I looked “normal.” So now I’m going to see different gynecologist. If my hymen is normal can I still get my hymen surgically removed?

If a young woman has trouble inserting a tampon after several tries or if her provider is unable to do a Pap test, it may mean that she was born with extra hymen tissue. As you may know, the hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the opening to the vagina. Hymens can come in different shapes. The most common shape is a “half-moon” which allows menstrual blood to flow out of the vagina.  Some women are born with extra hymen tissue that can partially or completely cover the opening to the vagina. It can also look like a rubber band in the center which makes it difficult to insert a tampon or perform a pelvic exam and Pap test. A minor surgical procedure, called hymenectomy, (the removal of extra hymenal tissue) pronounced “hi-men-ec-toe-me” is usually suggested.

Some women have a different condition called vaginismus which is a feeling of pain around the vaginal opening. This occurs because the muscles at the opening to the vagina tighten when something is about  to be placed inside the vagina such as a tampon, a “speculum” (a medical device used during a pelvic exam) or with vaginal intercourse. Both teens and adult women can have vaginismus. It is important to know that these conditions can be treated. Getting another medical opinion with a gynecologist is a good plan. Be sure to get all of your questions answered.