Don’t Believe The Hype
The Female genitalia is often at the center of conversation. Men obsess over it, the media objectifies it, and big companies make billions selling products for it. Women are told that they need powders, creams, sprays, douches, and feminine wipes to keep their vulva and vagina healthy. However, the truth is, using these products can change the delicate balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and acidity in a health vagina. One way to look at it is in a healthy vagina there are both good and bad bacteria. A balance of the level of bacteria types helps maintain an acidic environment. Any changes can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can lead to a yeast infection or bacteria vaginosis. Plus, if you have a vaginal infection, “vaginal cleansing,” such as douching can push the bacteria, causing the infection, further up into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
If you want to clean your vulva, a woman needs only mild soap and water. The vagina, however, is like a self cleaning oven; it is naturally acidic and contains rich quantities of beneficial bacteria that helps fend off infection and maintain a normal pH level. And, just as our
mouth produces saliva to cleanse the mouth, a healthy vagina will secrete small amounts of discharge to keep itself clean. Any interference with these normal conditions, quantities of beneficial bacteria that helps fend off infection and maintain a normal pH level. And, just as our
mouth produces saliva to cleanse the mouth, a healthy vagina will secrete small amounts of discharge to keep itself clean. An interference with these normal conditions, and vaginal irritation or infection will occur.
Vulva vs. Vagina – There’s a Difference
The proper name for a woman’s outer genitalia is vulva, but vagina is what everyone calls it. “Vagina” has linguistically evolved to mean all lady parts. However, vulva and vagina are anatomical terms with specific definitions. The vulva is defined as the area between the legs and includes pubic hair, the clitoris, the labia majora, the labia minora, the urethra, as well as the vagina. The vagina is just defined as the passage between the uterus and the external genitals. The vulva is described in more detail below.Pubic Hair
Pubic hair is the hair that grows around the genital and anal regions. It varies in color, texture, length, and thickness and often extends up the front, back or onto the thighs. Pubic hair provides protection and cushioning to your genitals, and transmits sensation. Some people
choose to get rid of their pubic hair for fashion or cultural reasons.
At the top of the labia minora, there is a fold of skin called the clitoral hood. This connects to the tip of the clitoris. The clitoris actually extends internally and is full of nerve endings-15,000 of them-and the tip of the clitoris is usually the most sensitive area on the vulva and is the only organ on the entire body that’s sole purpose is sexual arousal.
Labia Majora and Labia Minora
Women have two sets of labia: the labia majora (outer labia) and the labia minora (inner labia), which sit inside the outer labia. There are lots of other names for the labia minora. You might call them flaps or lips but, whatever you call them, the labia minora have a ver important
function. They protect the vagina and they’re also full of nerve endings that provide sensation and lubrication during sex.
Urethra is the urinary opening, the tiny opening where a woman urinates from. Resembling a tubular structure, it develops a connection between the urinary bladder and the genital organs in the human body.
The vagina is only one part of the vulva, but many people call the entire outside part of women’s genitals the vagina. The only part of the vagina that’s visible from the outside is the opening. Most of the vagina is actually on the inside and it leads all the way up to the cervix.
Dr. Lorene Garcia is a Gynecologist (OB-GYN) based in Miami, Florida who has more than 10 years experience gynaecology. I’m a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and love to help women with gynecological problems.