It’s surprising how little we know about our vagina. From the anatomy to taking proper care of one of our most vital sex organs, there really is a lot that one needs to know. Blame it on the lack of proper sex education which has rendered most of the female population in our society oblivious. Or the multiple taboos that prohibit us from talking about our body parts freely. A proper knowledge of the reproductive organ of our body is a must for a healthy functioning. This is especially important for females because our reproductive organs undergo a more rigorous routine than the men. Thus, here’s a blog with things that you should know about your vagina to help you better understand its working.
One of the most common misconceptions among women with regards to their vagina is its anatomy. Being a student of biology in school, it came as a big surprise for me, to see how little we know of even the most basic things. Since enlightenment is the purpose of this blog, here’s a clear picture of what we perceive as the vagina. for starters, the vagina is simply a tube-like structure that receives the penis during intercourse. It bridges the vulva and the uterus. Everything that you can see constitutes the vulva and not the vagina. The vulva constitutes the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vestibular bulbs, vulval vestibule, urinary meatus, the vaginal opening, and Bartholin’s and Skene’s vestibular glands. Basically, what you see on the outside is not a part of the vagina. the vagina is simply the connecting muscular tube between the exterior and the uterus.
The Truth about Discharge
Most women feel that vaginal discharge is a sign of an unhealthy vagina. The truth cannot be farther from that than it is. Vaginal discharge is your vagina’s mechanism of self-cleansing. It is a process by which the useful bacteria living inside your vagina, with a help from some glands remove harmful foreign particles. Even if the number of discharge increases, don’t feel alarmed. There is no fixed consistency of the vaginal discharge. A transparent to a milky-white discharge of any consistency is considered normal. However, there are some signs that you need to be watchful for. Red or brown colored discharge mid-cycle, green discharge, yellow discharge, cottage cheese-like discharge, grey discharge, and discharge with an unbearably bad odor, are all signs of alarm.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a vaginal condition very often seen in women. Before we go into this further, I believe it is important to settle here and now that this isn’t a serious condition. In most cases, pelvic organ prolapse can be treated by simple exercises and gets better over time. Now, this case is mostly related to childbirth. The organs drop from their normal place in the belly (prolapse) and push against the vaginal walls, making them bulge out, experience pain with intercourse, vaginal pressure, bladder and bowel problems, and back or pelvic pain. This condition can be very painful but it sure isn’t serious as we have already discussed. However, women are too afraid of going to their doctors about this that most of the times, it gets pushed to a point where it might become a serious issue. Your Bladder, Urethra, Uterus, Vagina, Small bowel, and Rectum are the organs that might be involved in pelvic organ prolapse due to the weakening of the muscles holding them. Causes other than childbirth for pelvic organ prolapse are pregnancy, aging, smoking, stress, or trauma.
The Impact of What You Eat
It is a universally known fact that what we eat has a direct impact on our body. However, many times we conveniently ignore the application of this fact on our vagina. Many times, the irritation and itchiness in our vulva or vagina is simply a result of all the wrong food we have consumed in excess. For example, if you consume a diet which is rich in bread, sugar, and Monosodium glutamate (MSG), that can lead to an excess of yeast in your body. Yeast growth in the vagina can lead to abnormal vaginal discharge and many other problems. Thus, it is very essential to consume a wholesome diet to maintain a healthy vagina. Women need to realize that their skin is not the only thing that ages. The aging of your vagina can be prolonged with a good and wholesome diet. Make sure you eat the right kind of food, and you will notice changes in your private parts that would give you a more comfortable and better feeling.
Pee after Sex
Running to the toilet right after sex might not be anyone’s ideal fantasy. Yet, if you are serious about steering clear of all sorts of infections involving your reproductive and excretory organs, then this is a must. Blame it on the anatomy, for women are more susceptible to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) than men are. The close proximity of the urethra, vagina, and anal opening makes women prone to urinary tract infections. Intercourse can make for some really strong base for UTIs. Sex can lead to the anal bacteria to enter the vagina, which can then as easily be transferred to the urethra. Not just the urethra, but the important bacteria in the vagina is also at risk of being disturbed because of the entry of these unwanted foreign organisms. Peeing before and after sex helps clean the urethra of these bacteria which move out with the urine.
It’s Cotton or Nothing!
Your vulva needs to feel the air. So, does your vagina. For that their first barrier against the outside world needs to allow the vagina a breath of fresh air. For that purpose, cotton underwear is your best bet. Many times, even the doctors recommend that those suffering from some sort of infections or irritation near the vagina or vulva should go commando. Underwear or other articles of clothing made of spandex, wet bathing suits, dirty or wet gym clothes, and pantyhose without a cotton crotch, should all be avoided. The yeast and harmful bacteria grow exponentially in an environment of high moisture content. Thus, it is very important to ensure that your vulva remains dry, with very little moisture around it, at all times.
Tampons are better for women who have very heavy flow and when you don’t want to let the sanitary napkin ruin your dress. However, this luxury comes with a very heavy price. For starters, it is important to wash your hands both before and after inserting a tampon. If the tampon gets infected by the bacteria on your hands, remember that it is going to be inside your vagina for the next 3-4 hours at least. Imagine the havoc it can wreak. Next, always remember to change your tampon after you poop. The bacteria from your excreta can infect the string on the tampon which can convey these to the vagina and the urethra. Lastly, never ever use a tampon to plug discharge when you are not on your periods. For starters, it harms the pH of your vagina and disturbs the normal functioning of the bacteria inside your vagina. Keeping tampon inside the vagina for more than 4-5 hours in itself is a very harmful activity. Using it when not necessary comes with its own share of risks.