There are just SO many myths we tend to believe, without ever checking facts first, only because it’s what everybody holds true. And we feel kinda shy about openly discussing and asking questions about our lady parts. Ladies, nothing hurts more than half-knowledge, and it’s imperative for you to know what’s going on inside your body to take care of yourself better, recognize the symptoms (if any!) early - and not worry unnecessarily when everything is actually perfectly fine. So here’s clearing up all doubts about the vagina - what’s normal and what’s not!
1. Vaginal odour is normal
Every woman has a scent of her own and shouldn’t feel conscious about it being “foul”. Even though you may be able to smell it, people around you won’t. Sometimes, due to sweat and discharge the odour may seem “off”, but even then a simple cleanse will do it away. Although if you feel the smell is particularly strong on more than one occasion, there is no harm in getting yourself checked by your gynaec.
2. What you choose to do with your hair down there is completely your choice
Pubic hair is one topic we hear such varied advice on, that we often get confused whether to completely shave it off, trim it or not touch it at all. First of all, hair growth differs for all, and secondly, what you choose to do with it is a strictly cosmetic decision - not one that will affect your health. All you need to be careful about is how you get it removed, and whether you’re prone to folliculitis (infection or inflammation of the hair follicles) or not.
3. White fluid discharge is normal
Even though we’ve heard it’s normal time and again, we get worried about white discharges post periods. Ladies - the vagina is a self-cleaning organ that naturally lubricates and cleanses itself through a discharge. As long as your discharge is clear or white and paste-like, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
4. But a few kinds of discharge can indicate infections
If your discharge looks clumpy or grey, or even discoloured with a yellow or greenish hue - and if it smells bad and causes irritation - you should get yourself checked for any infection. Even irregular spotting before or after periods can indicate a variety of problems, and should be checked.
5. Vaginal dryness is a common problem and can be treated
Vaginal dryness is a problem most women feel embarrassed about, even though it’s common and can be caused by hormonal changes, stress and a dip in oestrogen levels. It can cause a lot of pain, understandably, during intercourse, due to lack of smooth friction. But it can be easily corrected by switching medication (whether it’s antibiotics or birth control), and restoring the natural vaginal environment. But always consult a professional when altering your medication.
6. Your clitoris feeling sore is not normal
We always want more love for our clitoris, but too much of anything is bad! Sometimes over-stimulation during sex or masturbation can cause the clitoris to get sore and may result in clitoral pain at the slightest touch, while crossing your legs or even wearing tight jeans. It’s best to get professional help if such a situation arises.
7. The vagina being “tight” or “loose” is a misconception
Popular belief easily passes off as common knowledge - just like how many of us actually believe that women who have less sex have tighter vaginas, enhancing a man’s pleasure, and women who have it often have looser ones, limiting a man’s pleasure. It’s not true. During sex, vaginal muscle tissues contracts and tighten naturally, without permanently stretching or affecting the size of the vaginal canal.
8. It’s okay if your vagina is a different shape or colour
Some of us are horrified to find that our vagina - or rather our labia (the outer lips) - does not look quite the same as what we usually see on the Internet. If you’ve wondered at those differences too - there’s nothing to worry about. Our body parts and their shapes and colours are unique to us, even though their function is the same. Everything from darker to lighter, smaller to larger, or even asymmetrical labia is absolutely normal.
9. Burning, itching or bleeding in external genitals should be checked
It’s normal if the labia is slightly darker or lighter in shade, but if it appears to be discoloured with white patches - then it can be sign of a disease. Also problems like itching, burning or even bleeding from the labia could be symptoms of health problems and should be immediately treated.