How Much Do You Know About Womanhood?

Dr. Richa Agarwal    10-03-2016 Consult

Vagina is an important part of your Womanhood. Sure, your vagina has been with you your entire life, but how much do you actually know about it? Whether you've been too shy to ask or don't know where to look for information, chances are there are plenty of things that you've wondered about the area "down there." From what to expect after childbirth to normal sexual functions, read on to find out surprising facts you may not know about your lady parts.

1. Vagina Cleans Itself

Step away from the soap and harsh cleansers, gals. Your vagina keeps itself clean. It's lined by a variety of glands that produce the fluids needed to both lubricate and cleanse the vaginal area. Bath products, particularly those with chemical dyes or fragrances, can irritate the vagina and wash away the beneficial lubricants and flora (bacteria and yeast) that are normal and natural. When these beneficial compounds get washed away, anaerobic bacteria and yeast proliferate and can cause symptoms like discharge, odor and itching. 
Lesson learned: While a little mild soap on the labia area is OK, your body does a fine job of keeping the insides clean.

2. It Grows In Size When Aroused

The average length of a vagina is 3 to 4 inches long. It can double in length when aroused. Encourage your partner to have fun with foreplay. The more aroused you feel, the less intercourse will hurt.

3. Just Like Your Face, Your Vagina Wrinkles With Age

It's a fact of life: The appearance of your lady parts may change with age. The labia may become less plump as estrogen levels wane, fatty pads in the labia shrink and less collagen can lead to more sagging. The skin of the vulva may darken or lighten and the clitoris may shrink. It's normal either way. These changes, which are often related to decreasing levels of estrogen, do not affect how much pleasure your girl parts can bring you.

5. Some Women Ejaculate With Orgasm

It definitely happens, and it's not uncommon. It seems to be a learned skill and happens more commonly as women get older and learn how their bodies work. So how does it happen? There are glands around the urethra - the tube between the bladder and the outside world - that probably secrete fluid, particularly when the anterior wall of the vagina is stimulated. 

6. Your Vagina Changes Dramatically After ChildBirth

Post-childbirth the vagina doesn't so much look different as it feels different. As a gynecologist, I can almost always tell if a woman has delivered vaginally or not. I need a larger speculum for a woman who has had two kids than for a childless woman. But from the outside, you can't tell unless a woman has torn during childbirth, in which case she may have a faint scar at the site of her tear or episiotomy. If you're uncomfortable with the way your vagina has stretched and changed after childbirth, then these exercises can really help.   Just squeeze the muscles you use to start and stop the flow of urine, holding for a few seconds at a time, and repeating in sets of 10 - or more, if you're up to the task!

7. The Vagina Is Like A Bicep, Use It Or Lose It

It's true that the vagina stays healthier when you're using it with some regularity. Sex keep the sensitive vaginal tissue healthy. If you neglect your vagina for too long (no sex, no exercises, etc.), the vaginal walls can become fragile, she says. And when menopause strikes, it may scar and close off a bit. But sex isn't the only answer: Your doctor can suggest specific exercises and instruments that can help the vagina stay in tip-top shape.

8. Vaginal Discharge Varies From Women To Women

It is noted that the average amount of vaginal discharge a woman of reproductive age secretes over a period of eight hours weighs 1.55 grams (a gram is equivalent to about 1/4 teaspoon). But, some women produce much less and others produce much more - and the variations are completely normal! You produce the greatest amount of discharge (1.96 grams) around the time of ovulation. Of course, every woman is different. Some women have ectropion, when the mucous-producing glands that are usually on the inside of the cervix evert onto the outside of the cervix. If your cervix has this normal feature, you may produce more cervical mucous, which increases the amount of vaginal discharge you have. Some women produce very scant amounts of discharge and others make much more. In the absence of infection, it's normal either way. And the color? It varies, too - and just because there's a pigment to it, doesn't mean you have an infection. Normal vaginal discharge is whitish, but may appear yellowish when it dries. But if your vaginal discharge appears greenish when wet, you have itching or burning, your discharge smells extra-fishy or you think you're at risk for STDs, get it checked just to be on the safe side.

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