How much do you know about your vagina? While the vagina receives a lot of nicknames, it is amazing how much misinformation is out there about the vagina. So why not be a little more informed? Read our article so you can learn more about it.
1. Where is your vagina located?
First of all, your vagina is not the entirety of the “stuff” that is going on down there. Most women use the word vagina to refer to their reproductive system, but actually the vagina is just one part of it. It is a narrow canal that stretches from the vulva to the cervix, the lower portion of the uterus.
2. Where does the word ‘vagina’ come from?
It comes from the Latin word meaning ‘a sheath for a sword’.
3. Your vagina is not unique
On the inside, vaginas are the same for every one of us. It is the other parts of our reproductive system that may differ from one woman to another: the vulva, the labia, the outer lips and the clitoris to name a few.
Did you know that most women’s labia are not symmetrical? One is usually bigger than the other.
4. Your skin can have a different colour in your vagina
Even if you have a fairly light skin complexion, the colour of your skin in the lower area can differ, having a brown-ish shade. It also works the other way round: a woman whose skin complexion is darker can have a lighter vulva.
But it gets more interesting. Different areas of your vagina can have different colours: labia can have a darker colour, while the perineum can be pink.
5. It has pleated walls
Imagine an umbrella opening: from stretched and narrow, to open and wide. This is what your vagina is capable of, thanks to its pleated walls. After all, it needs to be capable of adjusting its size in order to accommodate a penis, a tampon, or to make room for a baby to pass through.
The vagina can swell from 1cm to 5cm or more.
6. You only lose your virginity once
We have no idea where this myth comes from, but rumour has it that the vagina can get really tight if you don’t have sex for a long period of time. Rumour also says that, once tightened, it really hurts to have sex again.
Totally untrue, as penetrations should not be painful at all after a long time of abstinence.
7. Your clitoris is very sensitive
There are 8000 nerve endings in the clitoris and this is dedicated to female pleasure. Whereas the penis only has 4000. This is the reason why this tiny area is considered to be the most sensitive of a woman’s body.
8. It cleans itself all the time
You do not have to wash the vagina. In fact, it is recommended NOT to do it, because you would only cause harm. Your vagina cleans itself naturally; this is what discharge is. Discharge is normally higher when you are at your ovulation, but it appears regularly throughout the month. The secretions contain bacteria, water, and cells from the vaginal wall.
You do need to wash your labial folds and the perineum though.
9. Pubic hair is not a biological accident
Pubic hair serves a few critical functions, it keeps bacteria away from the vagina and trap the odour to attract men. Pubic hair also decreases friction during sexual intercourse, which prevents the nasty ‘rug burn’ effect that can happen on hairless genitals. However, whether or not you shave is entirely your decision; what is important is to maintain its hygiene and keep it clean.
10. Pubic hair has a short life expectancy
While the hair on your head can live up to seven years, pubic hair only has a short life expectancy of three weeks. This is the reason why they do not grow so long.
11. Its smell is more strongly during your menstruation
Your vagina has its own smell, which is noticeable especially during your period. To be more precise, it is acidic before the period and pungent after the period. If you work out, you may notice your vagina smells differently post-workout; this is because of sweat glands. It also has a different smell when you have sexual intercourse, due to the lubricant you produce.
12. During ovulation it discharges up to 2 teaspoons of secretion
The vagina is busy spring cleaning when you are ovulating, so you will experience more discharge than the rest of the month. This is entirely normal. Your body produces discharge throughout the month, but during this period the liquid will be thinner and clearer than the rest of the month.
If you ever feel like it itches, burns, or if you notice the discharge looks like cottage cheese – make a gynaecologist appointment fast.
Some women may experience vaginal dryness during their ovulation, which is not normal. It could be an unpleasant side-effect of menopause. The good news is that you can treat vaginal dryness –find out how.
13. Vaginas share something in common with sharks
Both contain squalene, a substance which is both present in shark liver and natural vaginal lubricant.
14. Things cannot get lost up there
This is especially the case for tampons. While they cannot escape to the uterus (the cervix blocks off access), it can slip out of reach. If this happens, try to take it out while squatting or bearing down. If this doesn’t work, make an appointment with a gynaecologist; they will take the tampon out painlessly.
Do you experience vagina health problems?
You need to take good care of your vagina. It is an incredible organ, capable of creating new life. At the same time, a healthy vagina ensures a healthy mind and body, due to the hormonal balance it maintains.
If you are experiencing problems with your vagina, you should read more about the three types of treatments you can benefit from at our specialist centre: