I want my hymen back...
Conservative India's continuing preference for a 'virgin bride' is driving an increasing number of women to go under the knife for hymen reconstruction surgeries to keep intact the concept of the untouched spouse for their husband-to-be. Hymen reconstruction surgery or hymenoplasty is the surgical restoration and repair of the hymen. In India, the rising trend of hymen reconstruction comes even as discussions and debates continue about women's empowerment not just in our homes but also in the outside world.
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In other words hymenoplasty refers to a cosmetic surgery procedure that repairs a torn hymen. Research has shown a steady rise in the demand for hymenoplasty surgery with an increase of 20-30 per cent over the past few years.
In a conservative society like ours, many women feel that hymen reconstruction is a prerequisite to a good beginning of married life. Also they feel no matter how modern their partners are, the male mindset remains conservative in this regard and therefore the importance of being a virgin before marriage. The majority of women who opt for this surgery belong to the age group between 20 and 30.
Sadly, pre-marital consensual sex is widely considered to be one of the main reasons for the rupture of the hymen. However, it is important to note that it may not be the only reason; the hymen can tear due to many reasons such as strenuous physical activities like swimming, horse riding, cycling, and in certain cases the girl may have been a victim of rape.
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There are several reasons why hymen repair surgeries are so hugely popular in our country. Some of them are:
Cultural or religious reasons: In some cultures, a woman is physically inspected to make sure the hymen is intact (a sign she is a virgin).
As part of the rape, incest or any other sexual abuse healing process: Some women view this as a way to empower themselves and symbolically restore something that was taken from them.
Injury to the hymen prior to marriage: Tampon use, vigorous exercise or sexual intercourse can cause a hymen to rupture.
Revirgination: Women who want to give their partner a unique gift.
How is hymenoplasty performed?
The hymenoplasty surgery is usually a 30-45 minute procedure and can be done in an out-patient surgery centre using general or local anaesthesia. The surgeon uses dissolvable stitches to reconnect the skin membrane that once partially covered the opening to the vagina. After the hymenoplasty surgery, the patient can return to work in a day or two as the complete healing process takes approximately 6-8 weeks.
How much does it cost?
In India, the cost of this surgery varies from 15,000 INR to 20,000 INR if done at a public hospital; while in private hospitals the charges range from 50,000 INR to 70,000 INR.
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