Everything You Need To Know About Your Vagina & Vulva
This week on the blog we’re talking about vaginas. Your vagina is a very sensitive, intimate part of your body’s anatomy but it’s also one of the most mysterious body parts. I find most girls don’t know a lot about their vagina, mostly because they’re nervous to ask. Fear not, because I’m going to give you the 411 on the different parts of your vagina so you never have to sit there wondering if the way your vagina looks or functions is ‘normal.’
First of all, technically using the term vagina is incorrect in terms of female sexual anatomy. Your vagina is simply one part - specifically, your vagina is the canal inside the body where a tampon is inserted, meaning this is where period blood comes out of. This is also the area involved in sexual intercourse and childbirth. All the outside stuff, including your labia minora, labia majora, clitoris, the vaginal opening and the urethra is your vulva. Feel free to continue referring to it as your ‘vagina’ (I know I will), but know that the proper term for everything going on outside of the inner canal is the vulva.
Now that we’ve covered vagina vs. vulva, let’s get into some other important things you should know in our vagina 101.
Image via Instagram (@amorelie)
1. Your vagina has pleated walls.
The inner walls of your vaginal canal are pleated, similar to the way an accordian looks. This is what allows your vagina to expand during sexual intercourse or birth, and this is how something like a baby has room to pass through!
2. Vaginas are self-cleaning.
Like a cat! In all seriousness though, if you’ve ever been concerned about clear or white-ish discharge coming from your vagina, don’t be. This is simply your vagina releasing cells, water and bacteria that are up to no good. Depending on your hormones there will be more or less discharge throughout some weeks of the month. Some people also experience more discharge than others.
If your vaginal discharge ever suddenly changes color or is accompanied by an itching or burning sensation in or around your vagina, consult a doctor.
Image via Instagram (@yoni.care)
3. Vagina exercises exist.
Your vagina needs some exercise, just like the other parts of your body! The specific exercise for your vagina is known as a Kegel, a type of pelvic floor exercise. To do a Kegel, tighten your vagina muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of your pee. Hold for 10 seconds, then release - try to do five sets of this three times a day.
Kegels are great because you can literally do them anytime, anywhere. You can do it sitting at your desk, driving around or sitting on your couch! They’re easy to do and so beneficial. Down the road, this prevents bladder leaks and makes childbirth easier by strengthening your vaginal walls and structure.
4. Every vagina is different.
No two vaginas or female genitalia look the same. Your vagina’s labia (lips) and clitoris can vary in size. Some people have a very small clitoris tucked under the clitoral hood and very big labia - just depends! The color of your labia can also vary - some people have a pink-ish labia while others will have a red or purple tone to their labia.
In addition to how your vagina looks, your vagina also functions uniquely. As mentioned, the amount of discharge released varies from person-to-person and the smell and odor of your vagina will also never be the same as the girl next to you.
It’s important to remember there’s no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ vagina. Like everything else on your body, your vagina is unique to you! You can stop worrying about whether your vagina or labia are normal just because they look ‘different’ or ‘lopsided’ — that’s totally healthy.
5. Take care of your vagina the way you do with your face.
Skincare for your vagina is just as important as skincare for your face. The skin on the outside of your vulva is susceptible to getting dry and is also prone to acne the same way your face is. Make sure to always clean your vagina in the shower and moisturize.
Your vagina has a sensitive pH balance and won’t respond well to overly perfumed body washes or lotions, so try to use natural, fragrance-free products to keep the area down there happy. It’s also important to note that douching is extremely bad for your vagina.
There you have it, your vagina 411. If you have any other burning questions about what goes on down there or you want to learn more about your vagina, feel free to send a DM to @knixteen on Instagram, or consult a gynecologist or other medical professional.