More often than not, the term vagina is referred to as the female genital area, which is incorrect. So let’s get to know a few vaginal facts
1. The Vulva and the Vagina are different - the visible or the outer part of the female genital area is known as the Vulva. Vagina, in simple terms, is your birth canal. This 3-to-6 inch long muscular canal connects with the cervix and the uterus. The vagina, a muscle, when at rest, is closed
2. The vagina has an acidic pH and is self-cleaning - your vagina contains an army of good bacteria called Lactobacilli which keep its pH balanced and healthy
3. Vaginas have an odour - this is due to the specialized bacteria and is normal. You don’t need to use any perfumes or scented washes down there to cover it up. However, if you do notice an odd rotten, abnormal scent, or fishy smell, consult your gynaecologist immediately
4. Experiencing wetness down there ? Not necessarily a sign that you are sexually aroused. The glands in your vaginal wall and cervix create essential lubrication to keep your vagina clean and moist and also protect the genital area from an injury. Your vagina producing lubrication is a natural physiological function
5. Vaginal discharge is normal but not always - when you see a clean, thick discharge, it’s your vagina’s cleaning efforts. However, if you observe any not-so-typical discharge, head to your gynaec for a checkup
6. Your vagina can tear during vaginal birth - this does happen. Post childbirth, your vulva and vagina feel bruised and swollen; your vagina will feel more open since a human body has been injected out of it. Don’t worry! Your vagina is good at repairing itself. The openness subsides and the tears heal by 6 weeks postpartum
7. Your vagina changes with age - your vagina is strongly influenced by the hormonal changes in your body. The vagina has more layers of tissue lining it during your reproductive years. This is due to the stimulation from higher estrogen levels in the body. In the postmenopausal phase, with lower estrogen levels, the walls of the vagina become thin and frail which can lead to vaginal dryness and decreased secretions
Now, that was easy, wasn’t it? As a woman, you are blessed to have an incredible organ called the vagina which changes in response to life stages, age, and hormones. Don’t be embarrassed or shy to talk about your vagina or vaginal health with your gynaecologist. Do regular checkups and keep yourself healthy down there.
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