The hymen is a thin membrane shaped like a half moon that partially covers the opening of a young girl’s vagina, allowing space for menstrual blood to flow out.
A septate hymen is when this thin membrane has a band of extra tissue in the middle that creates two small vaginal openings instead of one, making it difficult to get a tampon in or out.
Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.
Causes & Risk Factors
A septate hymen is a congenital disorder, meaning it is present at birth. It occurs when the hymen membrane does not form properly during development of 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 begins using tampons during her periods.
Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty inserting or removing a tampon, especially when the tampon has expanded with blood
- Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse, caused when the hymen tears
Diagnosis & Tests
A septate hymen may not be discovered until puberty when the girl begins having problems using tampons during her periods, or has problems with sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis can be made through a physical exam.
Treatment & Care
In most cases, as for imperforate hymen and microperforate hymen, minor surgery is performed to remove the extra band of tissue and create a single, normal-sized vaginal opening. However, the extra tissue can be torn during tampon insertion or sexual intercourse.