Everything you should know about vaginal health

Exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

Exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

Photo credit: shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • The vagina is a fascinating and complex body part.
  • In addition to being the birth canal, it also plays an important role in sexual pleasure and lubrication.
  • Every vagina is different, so don't be afraid to embrace your uniqueness.

Do you know everything there is to know about vaginas? Probably not. In fact, there are probably quite a few things about vaginas that you didn't even know were facts. It's important to know everything – from keeping it clean and healthy to ensuring you're having the most pleasurable sexual experiences possible.

Vulva or vagina?

It is common for people to use the terms vagina and vulva interchangeably, but there is a big difference between them. The vagina is only one part of the vulva (the external female genitalia).

The vagina is a muscular tube that leads from the vulva to the cervix, opening the uterus.

The vulva, on the other hand, includes everything you can see on the outside of the body, including the labia (lips), clitoris, urethra (urine opening), and vaginal opening.

Although they are different parts of the anatomy, both the vagina and vulva play important roles in a woman's sexual health.

The vagina provides a path for menstrual blood and sexual fluids to exit the body, and it also serves as the birth canal. The vulva, meanwhile, contains a wealth of nerve endings that can provide pleasure during sexual activity. 

It is self-cleaning

It is a common misconception that vaginas are dirty, smelly, and need constant cleaning. The vagina constantly cleans itself.

It does not require any special care or cleansing beyond regular bathing. The vagina contains bacteria that help to keep it healthy and free of infection.

These bacteria also help to prevent the growth of harmful organisms such as yeast. The vagina's natural pH balance helps to keep these beneficial bacteria.

Unhealthy cleansing practices could interfere with the pH balance creating problems such as infections.

There are a few things that women can do to keep their vaginas healthy, including avoiding scented soaps and douches and wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom.

You are what you eat

Vaginas are self-cleaning and have inbuilt defense mechanisms against infection, but that does not mean they can't benefit from a little extra TLC. Like the rest of your body, what you eat can affect how your vagina smells.

Limit strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and spicy dishes. These can make your vagina smell stronger.

Also, try to eat more yogurt. Yogurt contains live cultures that can help to keep your vagina healthy and free from odour-causing bacteria.

Additionally, eat more fruits and vegetables. They are high in fibre and antioxidants which keep your vagina healthy and smelling good.

However, as with all things related to your vagina, it's always best to consult a doctor if you're concerned about the smell. They can help you determine if there's an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Vaginal expands on arousal

The vagina is an amazing and complex body part. Apart from self-cleaning, it can also expand and contract, and self-lubricate.

During sexual arousal, the vagina undergoes a number of changes. The walls of the vagina swell and the vagina lengthens. This happens because the vagina is filled with blood, which causes the tissue to engorge. The vagina also produces lubrication, making sex more comfortable and pleasurable.

However, it is okay to need extra lubrication during sexual activity.

Vagina sizes are different

Just like other parts of the body, there is a lot of variation from person to person. This also includes the labia minora and Majora (the "lips"), and the clitoris. These parts vary in size and appearance, from small and delicate to large and fleshy.

And, just like other parts of the body, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. So, if you're ever curious about how your vagina compares to others, rest assured that there is no "normal" vagina size.

Exercising could benefit the vagina

The vagina is a sensitive and delicate area. As a result, it is also subject to a number of health problems, including dryness, itchiness, and pain during sex. However, there is one simple step that women can take to improve the health of their vaginas: exercise.

Regular exercise can increase blood flow to the vagina, which helps to keep the tissue healthy and lubricated.

Exercise also helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can improve sexual function and prevent incontinence. In addition, exercise can help to reduce stress levels, which can promote overall vaginal health. So next time you are looking for a way to improve your health, don't forget about your vagina. A little exercise could go a long way.