One way to discover what a myth is and what it is not when it comes to your vagina is by knowing exactly what your vagina is, how it operates and what makes it unique. These are the top 11 things every person with a vagina should know and definitely be proud of too:
- The vagina is only one part of your intimate area: Sometimes we use the word vagina to refer to our intimate area entirely. However, most gynecologists describe the word ‘vagina’ as only the narrow canal that runs inside your body from the vulva (the visible area that includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris and perineum) to the cervix (the lower portion of the uterus). So, no, vagina is not the whole part.
- Not all vagina’s have hymens inside of them: If you don’t know what a hymen is, a hymen straight from the dictionary is defined as, “a membrane which partially closes the opening of the vagina and whose presence is traditionally taken to be a mark of virginity.” However, this mark isn’t always true when it comes to everyone with a vagina because some women aren’t born with a hymen, and for those who are, the hymen is different in thickness – it’s completely different for everyone.
- Your vagina has bacteria: Don’t worry, it’s not the bad kind! Similar to the bacteria found in yogurt – it’s good for you and your body because it keeps the microorganisms balanced and the infections at bay too.
- It’s self-cleaning: As you may have heard us say, your vagina has its own pH level, the norm vaginal pH level being 3.8 – 4.5. This means that it basically cleans itself which is why you should be weary of the things you put inside and around your vagina that may affect its natural pH level. Thus, using fragrance free soaps, such as Femagene Intimate Cleansing Bar that won’t affect your vagina’s natural pH at all.
- Its odour changes: Every vagina smells. It usually smells acidic before your period and quite pungent during your period. Your scent may also be more noticeable after a workout because of sweat glands, and the natural lubrication your vagina produces during intimacy could also change the smell of your vagina.
- Discharge changes throughout your cycle: As we’ve covered in another one of our articles, your intimate area secretes different fluids throughout the month. This can vary from clear and stretchy to brown and gooey depending on your menstrual cycle, and what you eat or drink. However, if you experience an overwhelming smelly discharge that’s green or yellow, it’s recommended that you see a gynecologist.
- Nothing can get lost up there: Your monthly tampon cannot escape into your uterus. However, a tampon can slip out of reach. Also, we don’t recommend that you play around with sweet food products near your vagina like they do in the movies in moments of intimacy. The sugar can lead to an infection, if not cleaned correctly.
- What happens when the area of your vagina is in pain? If your vagina is in pain, it could be for two reasons:
- Vaginismus: This is when the vaginal muscles contract involuntarily, which can make it difficult or impossible to have sex, use a tampon, and even undergo a gynecologist exam. It can be treated via physical therapy or counselling.
- Vulvodynia: This, as the name suggests, gives you vulva pain, stinging, or sensitivity so intense that direct touch is hard to bear. There are no visible signs and it’s often diagnosed after a gynecologist rules out other conditions, such as a bad yeast infection. However, these are not the only types of vaginal pain, which is why you should see your gynecologist for any kind of abnormal vaginal pain immediately.
- Intimacy and your vagina: When you’re ready to enjoy intimacy with your partner, gynecologists have agreed that regular intimate moments between you and your partner can reduce your stress and anxiety levels. This is because the feeling you get when you have an orgasm increases estrogen, which increases the level of oxytocin (the happy hormone) and reduces cortisol (the main stress hormone) in your body.
- Your vagina benefits from exercise: Exercise is always great for your body and the main muscle of your pubic region — can tone up your vagina. Here’s how to exercise your vagina using a routine called, Kegels: Clamp down as if you’re stopping your urine flow, hold for 10 seconds, then release.
- Your vagina stretches, tears and is self-healing: During birth the vaginal canal and the cervix both stretch to about 10 centimeters and sometimes parts of the vaginal wall can tear during childbirth too. However, the vagina heals itself after all the wear and tear and returns to pretty much its normal state over time.
So, there you have it ladies, we hope these 11 facts have given you the confidence to love your intimate area, because it certainly is remarkable! Why wouldn’t you love it?
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FACT FILE: THRUSH AND HOW TO AVOID IT
If you’ve ever been on anti-biotics, been overly stressed, or have been using the wrong intimate hygiene products then you may have also experienced a fungal infection of the vagina, or Thrush – as it’s commonly known. The symptoms include itching, burning in the vaginal area, white, lumpy discharge, soreness and even a rash.