The hymenal ring, remnants and tags

The hymen is a circular or crescent-shaped membrane located just inside the entrance to the vagina but is absent in some.

The hymenal membrane is stretched out and ‘broken’ by tampons, sex, riding a bike, and so on, and as a result there may be tags or fibrous scar tissue on either side of the vaginal entrance. This tissue is known as the hymenal ring, hymenal tags or hymenal remnants.

The technical name is carunculae myrtiformes or hymenales. This hymenal tissue has a blood and nerve supply and can be very sensitive.

You can tell if the pieces of flesh are from the hymen because they will be located just inside the entrance of the vagina (not deep inside).

The hymenal ring is used as an anatomical marker, for example in pelvic organ prolapse (POP,  pelvic floor strength assessments, vaginal repairs, and pessary fittings. These tags usually disappear over time. In those who are pregnant, this tissue can become thickened.

Hymenal ring tissue may be used for reconstruction of the hymen in a hymenorrhaphy/hymenoplasty where an intact hymen is important as a marker of ‘virginity’. It should never be stitched into, as it could cause extreme pain.

Read more about the hymen here.      

Issues that can arise from hymenal tags

Hymenal remnants can cause dyspareunia, which is painful penetration/sex and may be a cause of vulvodynia/vestibulodynia in some people.

Stitches may have been incorrectly placed in the hymenal ring area, causing problems and pain.

Hymenal tags can cause painful vaginal examinations, as the speculum can rest on the hymenal ring. Those with hymenal remnants can also be self-conscious.  


Mishori R, Ferdowsian H, Naimer K, Volpellier M, McHale T. The little tissue that couldn’t – dispelling myths about the Hymen’s role in determining sexual history and assaultReprod Health. 2019;16(1):74. Published 2019 Jun 3. doi:10.1186/s12978-019-0731-8

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)