By Ntianu Obiora
Many women are insecure about the way their vaginas look and for the most part, many do not even know what constitutes ‘normal’. We break down all your worries in the informative piece.
When women think of what a vagina ‘looks’ like, it’s almost always cosmetic but truth be told, every woman’s vagina is different and there is no such thing as ‘normal’.
Vaginas are completely individual and no two are the same. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, what someone else’s vagina looks like is normal for them, but won’t necessarily be what’s normal for you. Yours is completely unique.
What you should be concerned about is your overall vaginal health. Vaginal health another important part of a woman’s overall health. Vaginal problems can affect your fertility, desire for sex and ability to reach climax. Prolonged issues with vaginal health can begin to affect your intimate relationships and cause you stress as well as have a negative impact on your self-confidence. It’s important that you recognise the symptoms of vaginal issues and get to the bottom of them as soon as possible.
Let’s start with the 3 major parts you need to know.
Your labias are the outer and inner lips of your vagina and can vary from person to person [Credit: Cosmopolitan] Pulse Nigeria
The labia, your vagina lips, are folds of skin around your vaginal opening. The labia majora (outer lips) are usually fleshy and covered with pubic hair. The labia minora (inner lips) are inside your outer lips. They begin at your clitoris and end under the opening to your vagina.
Labia can be short or long, wrinkled or smooth. Often one lip is longer than the other. They also vary in color from pink to brownish black. The color of your labia can change as you get older. Some people have larger outer lips than inner lips, and many have larger inner lips than outer lips. Both are sensitive, and swell when you’re turned on.
Normal: Labia of all sizes, lengths and colors, including asymmetrical labia, and labia minora that are larger than the labia majora.
Not Normal: Skin of the labia discolored with white patches can be a sign of a disease called lichen sclerosus, which is most common of women of menopausal age. Itching, burning, and/or bleeding of the skin on the vulva could also be signs of a health problem — anything from a skin condition to an STD. If you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms, it’s best to talk to your doctor
The clitoris is there solely for a woman’s pleasure [Credit: Aeon] Pulse Nigeria
The tip of the clitoris is located at the top of your vulva, where your inner lips meet. Everyone’s is a different size. It can be about as small a pea or as big as a thumb. The tip of the clitoris is covered by the clitoral hood.
This is just the beginning of the clitoris though. It extends inside your body, back and down on both sides of the vagina. This part, called the shaft and crura (roots and legs), is about 5 inches long.
Your clitoris is made of spongy tissue that becomes swollen when you’re aroused (turned on). It has thousands of nerve endings — more than any other part of the human body. And it’s only purpose? To make you feel good.
Normal: Long clitorises, short clitorises, or hidden clitorises.
Not Normal: Clitoral pain, soreness or inflammation, which can be related to over-stimulation during sex or masturbation, or due to a build-up of smegma under your clitoral hood. Also watch out for itching, which can be a sign of a yeast infection or a condition called bacterial vaginosis which causes great discomfort.
Even though all women’s vaginas look different, here’s what you should be concerned with.
The vagina is a tube that connects your vulva with your cervix and uterus. It’s what babies and menstrual blood leave the body through. It’s also where some people put penises, fingers, sex toys, menstrual cups, and/or tampons. Your vagina is really stretchy, and expands when you feel turned on.
Normal: Bumps inside, white and clear discharge.
Not Normal: Clumpy or grey, yellow, or green discharge, often with a strong odour, can indicate problems such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. New, abnormal bumps or sores can indicate an STI. Spotting between periods can be related to a wide variety of problems. Itchiness or soreness in or around your vaginal opening can be a sign of an STI, a yeast infection, or another problem a doctor should take a look at.