While we do our best to build confidence and trust, and to make our patients feel comfortable – we’re also very aware that our patients often hold out on us. Even when you’re dying to know something, admit something, or learn more about something – it can be embarrassing to ask personal questions or questions that affect personal parts of your anatomy.
We Wish All Our Patients Knew THIS About Their Vaginas
Our team forges ever onwards, trying our best to share information and insight as opportunity allows. In the meantime, here are 7 things we wish we had a chance to tell every one of our patients.
- Vaginas are like snowflakes. On one hand, we can show you an anatomically correct chart of a vagina and point to what’s what – but this is only a general representation. While the parts are all the same, their shapes, colors, sizes, tissue density, sensitivity, and general features vary from one woman to the next. There are no two exactly alike, and that is saying something because we see dozens every day. Celebrate your uniqueness and be kind to your vagina. She is no worse or better than any other – she’s just being herself.
- You should get very well acquainted. We highly recommend every woman (if she hasn’t done so already) use the above diagram as a general resource and follow the instructions provided on the Self-Exam page, hosted by org. This is a wonderful reference for mothers, sisters, grandmothers or fathers who are the primary caregivers of a pre-adolescent/adolescent/teen girl, and who could use some education and guidance. It’s also ideal for any woman who’s never taken a good look down there or isn’t 100% sure of what’s what. Knowing what things look and feel like will prepare you for when they don’t look and feel like they should. We advise examining your vagina at varying points throughout your menstrual cycle so you can see first-hand how things change depending on where you are in the pre- or post-ovulation stages.
- Be tender with her. Your vagina deserves TLC. Ditch perfumed soaps and just use water to clean her. If you use lubrication, use fragrance-free versions. Douches are almost never recommended – and they are entirely unnecessary since your vagina is a master at keeping herself clean and fresh. Wear 100% cotton undies whenever possible and don’t let the vagina remain in contact with sweat, dirt or bacteria-rich clothing (change after the gym, launder underwear regularly, etc.) to spare her from yeast and bacterial infections.
- If you think something’s wrong, it probably is. Have you noticed unusual discharge lately ( more copious in quantity and/or yellowish or greenish in color, perhaps)? Is there a strong fishy or yeasty smell? You know your body best. If you think something is a amiss, schedule an exam with your gynecologist. We’d much rather tell you nothing is wrong than have you come in long after you could have been treated. Plus, some STDs are practically asymptomatic or have symptoms that are easy to miss – so you don’t want to unknowingly spread them to your partner(s).
- She is powerful. If you become familiar with your vagina, if you embrace it and learn more about it, you will be amazed at how powerful it is. Your vagina has the ability to help you bond with your mates and experience unbelievable pleasure – solo or with a partner. It will facilitate the evacuation of your endometrium lining every month so you another one can be created in its place. She knows how to keep sperm out when you aren’t fertile and how to help them along their journey through the cervix when you are. If that isn’t enough, she also has the ability to birth your baby – whether that baby is 5 lbs or 12 lbs.
- Discharge is completely normal. Your vaginal discharge is completely normal. It can be likened to ear wax or nasal discharge (aka snot), and it is designed to keep things clean (and it’s also hormonally programmed to help or hinder sperm, depending on whether or not you’re fertile. Most of the time, a little more or a little less – a little change in color or odor – is not a big deal. If something does seem to be out of whack, it’s worth looking into.
- Your vagina has birthdays too. Your vagina is not immune to the aging process. In fact, as you approach menopause – and then reach it – your vagina will typically change along with you. Hair will gray, just like the hair on your head. Your discharge will probably decrease because the special discharge that facilitates conception will no longer be needed. In fact, the liquids produced by your vagina may recede to a point that you require lubrication in order to enjoy sex. In some cases, the tissues in the vagina can thin. If they thin so much that sex becomes uncomfortable or painful, talk to your gynecologist about both natural and prescription hormone options that can provide relief.
Don’t let your vagina be a mystery. Get comfortable with it, and all its parts, as well as how they change from day to day and month-to-month. And, of course, never be afraid or embarrassed to ask your gynecologist anything. We love to help you learn more about your amazing female body!