The vagina is indeed a fascinating thing. For instance, you might be living with a vagina for very many years and yet know very little about it. This is mostly because of the fact that it is not so openly discussed in our culture.
In reality, the vagina is also an essential organ, like your heart or lungs. Maintaining its health and having open conversations about it is crucial. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do as we bring you some fun facts that you might not know about vaginas, and how to keep everything A-okay down there...
- 01. It is a self-cleaning organ
- 02. It has a unique scent
- 03. It houses good bacteria
- 04. It always has a little bit of yeast in it
- 05. Its discharge can change throughout your cycle
- A quick guide on how to care for your vagina
01. It is a self-cleaning organ
Vaginal secretions that sometimes tend to ruin your cute panties are there for a reason! They disinfect your vagina from the inside, which makes it a self-cleaning organ. The discharge carries dead cells and bacteria out of the body, thus, preventing infections. So, there is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to discharge, it's just your vagina taking charge of its own health.
02. It has a unique scent
Much like your personality, your vagina is also very unique to you. Every vagina has its own smell (not odour), a scent which is a mix of the bacteria present in it, your body’s microbiome and your lifestyle choices. Which means the food you eat, or the kind of fabrics you like to wear can all have a say in what kind of smell your vagina will have. It also depends on your menstrual cycles - normally a healthy vagina smells ‘musky’ or ‘fleshy’ but while menstruating, they can smell a bit ‘metallic’.
03. It houses good bacteria
Do you know what makes your vagina a tough cookie? Good bacteria! The three main strands of bacteria that keep your vagina healthy are Lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri. These probiotic strains help maintain a balanced and healthy vagina.
04. It always has a little bit of yeast in it
Even though yeast infections can get quite nasty for your vagina, yeast is actually an ever-present resident in there. A form of fungus, it is part of your vagina’s natural microbiome and only turns into an infection when exposed to external irritants like lubes or even antibiotics. The only problem is an overgrowth of yeast that leads to itching or burning; yeast infections should not be left unattended.
05. Its discharge can change throughout your cycle
Your vagina produces two teaspoons of thin, clear discharge on a daily basis. This changes as you near your period when it gets creamier and thicker. The change in consistency happens to create a hospitable environment to receive sperm travelling up to the egg. So, it is completely normal, as long as you don’t start to itch, smell foul or have discharge that looks like cottage cheese - this is when you should see your gynaecologist and get checked out.
A quick guide on how to care for your vagina
- Lifestyle: A good diet and regular exercise is one of the best ways to care for your vagina. Since it is an internal organ, you need to nourish it with a proper and healthy lifestyle.
- Personal care: Maintain proper hygiene around the vaginal area. As mentioned before, the vagina itself is self-cleaning, but the area around it needs to be maintained by you. A gentle intimate cleanser helps clean the area without disturbing the pH balance or causing itchiness or dryness.
- Regular check-ups: It is not just your teeth that need tending to every 6 months, checking in with your gynaecologist once a year is also important. Especially if you have a family history of health problems or suffer from UTIs or yeast infections. A gyno will help you understand your vagina and how to care for it according to your own specific needs.
- Follow safe sex: From condoms to lubes, safe sex practices will keep a majority of vaginal issues at bay. STIs can seriously affect your health and a lack of lubrication in the vagina can lead to issues like chafing or even rashes.
- Watch what you wear: When it comes to vaginal health, we have two words for you - hypoallergenic cotton! Blended fabrics, especially the ones that don’t let your hoo-ha breathe, are a big no-no.