In two weeks, I am having a hymenectomy because I have a microperforate hymen. I am really nervous about the procedure. Is there anything I should know about preparing for the procedure and what to expect postoperatively? Is there anything I can do that will help calm my nerves?

Thank you for your question. We hope that this information helps you feel more at ease regarding your upcoming surgery. Here is what we know: girls are born with a thin membrane that surrounds the opening of the vagina, called a hymen. The most common shape of hymens are similar to a half-moon or donut shape. This allows menstrual blood to flow out of the vagina and for a tampon to be inserted with little discomfort. However, some girls are born with a smaller opening in the hymen called a microperforate hymen. The thin membrane covers nearly the entire vaginal opening, except for the tiny hole.

Although menstrual blood can flow out of the vagina, it is impossible to insert a tampon. If a girl wants to use a tampon, a gynecologist can perform a minor surgical procedure called a hymenectomy (hi-men-ec-toe-me) in an outpatient surgical center. A hymenectomy takes less than one hour and recovery is rather quick, about one week. You may experience a little bit of discomfort following the procedure, but the pain is typically well controlled with over the counter medications such as ibuprofen. You will follow up with your doctor about 1-2 weeks following surgery, which is a great time to ask questions. Remember, it’s totally normal to be nervous about any surgical procedure. If questions come up write them down, that way you can ask your health care provider (HCP) before your procedure. Good luck!