Imperforate Hymen


The hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the opening of a girl’s vagina. Typically it is shaped like a half moon, leaving space for menstrual blood to flow out of the vagina.  

An imperforate hymen is when this thin membrane completely covers the opening of the vagina, blocking the flow of menstrual blood.

Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

Causes & Risk Factors

An imperforate hymen is a congenital disorder, meaning it is present at birth. It occurs when the hymen membrane does not develop properly in the fetus. The cause of this abnormal development is not yet known.

Symptoms & Types

There may be no symptoms until a girl reaches puberty and is unable to have periods because the blood can’t flow out of the body. When the blood backs up into the vagina and abdomen, it can cause pain and discomfort.

Symptoms may include:

  • Lack of first menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful bowel movements

Diagnosis & Tests

An imperforate hymen is typically diagnosed either in a newborn baby or at puberty when a girl

Diagnosis can be made through a physical exam.

Other differences in hymenal anatomy, including microperforate hymen and septate hymen, can also result in difficulty with periods or tampon use.

Treatment & Care

The treatment for an imperforate hymen is minor surgery to remove the extra hymenal tissue, creating a normal-sized vaginal opening so menstrual blood can flow out.