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Illustrations of the hymen in various states

This shows the names of the parts of the vulva. The rest of the illustrations do not have labels.

This is a perfect annular hymen. It is called annular because the hymen forms a ring around the vaginal opening. As the hymen starts to erode from sexual or other activity, the hymen becomes less ring-like.

This is a crescentic, or lunar, hymen. It forms a crescent shape, like a half moon, above or (as in this case) below the vaginal opening.

The hymen of a female with some sexual or masturbatory (internal) experience is apt to look something like this. Note that it is much less ring-like than the annular hymen.

This is what the hymen of a female who has only had a small amount of sexual activity or object insertion would look like. Health professionals who examine hymens for signs of sexual abuse are usually most interested in the posterior part of the hymen, from the 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock position. This is normally where the hymen breaks when the vagina is first penetrated.

This is the vulva of a woman who has given birth. The hymen is completely gone, or nearly so.

One in 2000 girls is born with an imperforate hymen. A doctor will do surgery to create a hole in the hymen of such a newborn.

This is a rare cribriform hymen, characterized by many small holes. This type of hymen lets menstrual and other fluids out with no problem, but sexual activity and the insertion of tampons can be problematic.

This is a rare denticular hymen, so called because it looks like a set of teeth surrounding the vaginal opening.

This is a rare fimbriated hymen, with an irregular pattern around the vaginal opening.

This rare labial hymen looks like a third set of vulvar lips.

Some girls are born with only a tiny hole in their hymens. Surgery is also necessary for these newborns to create a larger vaginal opening.

This rarity is called a septate hymen because of the piece of hymen that makes a septum, or bridge, across the vaginal opening.

This is the rare subseptate hymen, similar to the septate hymen only not making a bridge all the way across. Doesn't this remind you of the view into your throat with the uvula hanging down?

To learn more about hymens and how the medical community advises to examine them for signs of sexual abuse, see this site.

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