Answering the Most Asked Questions about the Vagina & the Vulva
How can we keep the vagina clean?
One of the most wonderful things about the vagina is that it is entirely self-cleaning! You don't need any special products to keep it clean - quite the contrary.
You should always wash your vulva with just plain water in the shower (and a non-scented wash if you really must use something) but never put anything INSIDE your vagina. That part can do the job just fine without any extra help.
If you're on your period and want to feel fresher, you can use a wet cloth to wash during the day.
How to prevent yeast infections?
What you wear makes a big difference to your vaginal health. Wearing tight clothing made from synthetic materials don't allow your vagina to breathe, which can lead to health issues like a yeast infection. Try to give your vagina air by wearing looser clothes, cotton underwear and/or going without underwear at night or whenever you feel comfortable.
Being careful about what you eat and drink can make a difference too. A diet with a lot of sugar intake can increase the risk, and people with diabetes need to be careful as they can be prone to yeast infections.
What can I do about vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a very common condition and it can be a result of many things such as hormonal imbalances, medication or menopause. The treatment will depend on the cause of the dryness but some general treatments include;
Masturbation as a release of vaginal lubrication,
Vaginal moisturisers, something prescribed by the doctor, not just a normal, body moisturiser.
Medication or hormonal treatment.
If you experience it regularly, find a lubricant that feels good and work with a gynaecologist to find a treatment that works well with your body.
Does hyperpigmentation have any effect on health?
Hyperpigmentation is a totally normal thing and doesn't signify any health issues. It's not something to worry about and can happen on any area of the body, but it's very common in the genital area. If a small patch of skin becomes darker or different in texture, see a doctor.
How to care for cuts inside the vagina from longer nails?
Ooh, ouch! If you're in the unfortunate situation of having cuts from long nails inside your vagina, the best thing you can do for them is nothing at all. Avoid penetration, as well as lube etc until the cuts have healed well enough (in order to keep them clean, and prevent infection), and next time make sure to have nice short nails before having fun with your hands!
What to do with excessive discharge?
If the amount of discharge your produce is uncomfortable for you, it's important to work with a doctor to find out the root of the cause, this is especially important if you have suddenly started producing more than you did normally as it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
If you naturally produce a lot, you can still work with a doctor to find a long term solution but in the meantime, a thin pad for your underwear can help you feel more comfortable. Also switching to cotton and natural fibre underwear will help your vagina breathe and reduce the risk of infections. Being very aware of the products and materials you put in touch with your skin and what you eat is also important as our body can be very sensitive, so you could be allergic to something and the discharge is the sign.
Is irritation in the vagina after sex normal?
Depending on the type of sex you had, how long it lasted and other factors, a little irritation can be normal but it shouldn't last long and it shouldn't feel very painful. Normally, sex, including penetration, should not leave you in pain or feeling itchy or burning, so if you do feel this, go to a clinic for an STI check and talk to a doctor as it could be vaginismus, vulvodynia or a number of other conditions.
Make sure you are using enough lubricant during penetration and if you have cuts or tears, give your vagina time to heal before you have penetrative sex.
How to soothe pain during penetration or insertion into the vagina?
If you're experiencing pain during penetration, there are a few actions you can take, as well as a few things you should check on. Health is paramount, and if you are experiencing pain during penetration, one of the first things you should do is make sure you don't have any kind of infection. Both candida (fungal) infections, as well as bacterial vaginosis, can cause pain and discomfort, but luckily both are easily treated.
If health isn't the issue, it's time to look at some of your sexual habits. Some people take longer for their vagina to self-lubricate than others (and some don't lubricate enough, no matter how excited they are!) so make sure that you're taking it nice and slow with the non-penetrative activities. Don't rush things, make full use of fingers, oral, and even toys! Try out different kinds of lube to find one that works for you. Remember that penetration is only one part of sex and not the "main event".
Is there a normal way a vagina should smell?
Vaginas all smell a little unique to each person. It depends on your diet, the time of the month, your hormone levels and so many more things. It's normal and healthy for the vagina to have a smell and it's actually a pheromone, which means it can turn your partner on, but if the smell becomes very strong and foul, like rotting fish, then it could signify an infection.
If you notice your vagina smells a little differently around your period or ovulation, don't worry, that's natural and nothing to be concerned about.
Why is my period blood yellow?
Period blood can actually vary in colour a lot. A yellow colour could mean that you have a lot of discharge, which mixes with the period blood and makes it a lighter, yellowish colour. It can be normal around the beginning and end of your period.
If you also have itching, pain or a foul smell coming from the discharge, get it checked out with a doctor as it could be an infection or an STI.
If you experience yellow discharge, check out this post on yellow discharge for more information.
Why is my vulva itchy during my period?
Itching can be a result of hormonal changes during your period, and it can also be a reaction to your menstrual care product like a sanitary towel or tampon. It is often nothing to worry about, but it's possible that it could be a yeast infection or other health condition. If it's combined with pain, bad smell, etc. then it's always worth going to see a doctor.
Is it normal to bleed every time you have sex?
Short answer: No! There are many reasons that you might be bleeding during sex, and they are all worth taking seriously and checking out. Bleeding during sex can be a sign of an STI, pelvic inflammatory disease, or a number of other conditions. Always check with your doctor if you are experiencing things like this. Other causes could be vaginal dryness, or not taking things slow enough to allow your body enough time to lubricate and be ready for penetration. These things are easily remedied by using more lube and taking your time.
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