Health & Wellness

Q&A: How can you tell the difference between a broken hymen and a first menstrual cycle?

Good question! A broken hymen may bleed a tiny bit, but that blood should be very short lived. Your first period, even if it is short, will last longer than just an hour or so, and the trickle of either red or brownish blood that comes for a day or more probably hallmarks your first real period.

That’s kind of a hard question to answer because the amount of bleeding when your hymen breaks is different from girl to girl. Some have no pain and little to no bleeding while others can have bleeding that is similar (in amount and appearance) to menstrual flow. WebMD has a good article that explains what you can expect when your hymen breaks. Maybe our health expert, Molly, will have a better idea than I do. As a mom, what I can say to you is that I know the thought of your hymen breaking and your first period can be kind of scary. But both are natural occurrences and — as long as you’re aware of and prepared for them — neither will be an issue for you.

The hymen is a very thin tissue that stretches across the opening of the vagina and if broken, the bleeding will often be minimal and usually bright red in color. In comparison, the blood from your menstrual cycle will most likely be darker in color and a thicker consistency (it’s the shedding of your uterine lining – not just blood). And be sure to check out what our health expert Molly has to say. She may have some additional things to look for when distinguishing between the two.