Other women's health

How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal

The vagina is an important part of the female genitalia, ready to receive a penis during penetration and to deliver the fetus during childbirth. Nevertheless, it remains a mysterious and unknown body part to many people. Even a large proportion of women are very unfamiliar with their own bodies and don't know many of this area's features and functions. In the following OneHowTo article, we answer the question of how to tell if my vagina is normal by showing all of its distinctive features, functions and the importance of keeping it healthy and in perfect condition. Pay attention!

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  1. What is the vagina like?
  2. Things you should know about the vagina
  3. When you should worry about the state of your vagina
  4. Tips on caring for your vaginal area

What is the vagina like?

The vagina is an organ that is part of female genitalia and connects the uterus to the outside of the body. It is a type of elongated tube with folds, covered by mucous membranes which are separated from the vulva by a membrane called the hymen.

It is useful to know that an adult's vagina can vary in size, measuring between 8 and 12 centimeters (3.1 and 4.75 in), and thanks to its high elasticity, it can expand and contract as needed. No vagina is the same as another. Every female body has a vagina that is different from the other, and it can vary in size whilst displaying a very different flexibility and capacity for expansion from one woman to another.

The vagina is an important organ, in both the process of childbirth and during sexual intercourse. In general, its main functions are as follows:

  • It is the tube through which the menstrual flow leaves when the egg is not fertilized.
  • Cervical mucus is expelled through the vagina, which is secreted by the cervix during the days of pre-ovulation and post-ovulation.
  • The vagina is the orifice which welcomes the penis during sexual intercourse and in which sperm are deposited. They subsequently move through the neck of the uterus so that egg fertilization can take place.
  • The so-called G spot is located inside the vagina, which generates great pleasure in women during stimulation or intercourse.
  • It is also the birth canal, meaning the tube through which the fetus exits during birth and through which the placenta is removed.

In short, the vagina is only the tube that connects the uterus to the outside of the body. The exterior part that is often called the vagina, is actually called the vulva and is made up of the clitoris, mons pubis, the labia and vulvar vestibule. For more details about all the parts that make up a female's genitalia, you should consult our article on the female reproductive system.

How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal - What is the vagina like?

Things you should know about the vagina

Every woman's body is different and although vaginas are usually similar on the inside, the vulva can vary greatly from woman to woman. You cannot set a standard in terms of appearance. It is possible that every vulva has a different symmetry, with a larger or smaller clitoris, thicker or thinner labia, etc.

Following on, we show you some of the things you should know to learn more about your vaginal area. Pay attention!

  • It is full of bacteria: the bacteria found in the vaginal flora are necessary to ward off and control pathogens that can end up causing an infection.
  • Vaginal lubrication: the secretion of vaginal discharge is a natural and normal process which carries out the key function of keeping the vagina in good condition, protects against possible infections and prepares it for penetration during sexual intercourse.
  • It is self-cleaning : vaginal secretions clean inside the vagina by eliminating all dead cells, bacteria and excess water. You only need to wash the outside, meaning you only need to wash between the folds of the labia and perineum with a mild soap.
  • Pubic hair: hair located in the labia and pubic mound functions as a protective barrier to protect against changes in temperature, acidity and anything that may arise in vaginal flora.
  • Smell: every vagina has a particular odor and every female must learn to identify it. This can change prior to menstruation and become a little more acidic, for example, or it can smell stronger after physical exercise or during sex due to sweat glands and lubrication.
  • Different color shades of the vulva: the color of the vulva is not necessarily closely related to skin tone and can be different from one woman to another. There are light-skinned women who have vaginal labia in shades of brown or purple, while other women with darker skin may have a lighter colored vulva.
How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal - Things you should know about the vagina

When you should worry about the state of your vagina

Now that you know what a vagina is like and you've learnt about some of its most important features, you should be aware of how essential it is. Take care of your intimate area to enjoy good sexual and general health. Vaginal problems can affect several areas of your life, from your emotional state and self-confidence to your sex drive, fertility and ability to enjoy sex.

So, it's essential that you know your own body and you remain alert to any changes or variations in your vagina, as it could be indicative of a more serious health problem. You should consult your doctor or gynecologist if you see or perceive any of the following conditions:

  • Changes to the smell, color or quantity of vaginal discharge.
  • Itching, irritation, swelling or vaginal redness.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse or after the period of menopause.
  • Appearance of a mass or lump in the vagina.
  • Presence of white and/or red dots.
  • A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the vagina.
How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal - When you should worry about the state of your vagina

Tips on caring for your vaginal area

The vaginal area is extremely sensitive and delicate and, for this reason, daily hygiene and special care is so important. Take a note of the following recommendations and put them into practice to ensure you always have a clean, fresh and healthy intimate area:

  • Wash your genital area twice a day with water and use a specific soap for this area. Avoiding using the gel that you apply to the rest of your body.
  • Avoid using sponges, harsh soaps, perfumes, deodorants or vaginal powders.
  • During menstruation, change pads and tampons frequently. The latter should not be placed inside for more than 4 to 6 hours.
  • Always keep the vaginal area dry.
  • When you go to the toilet, clean the area from front to back to avoid transferring germs from the anus to the vagina.
  • Preferably wear cotton underwear and discard any made from synthetics.
  • Avoid wearing trousers or tights that are too tight.
  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent the spread of infections.
  • When using sex toys, always wash them before and after each use.
How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal - Tips on caring for your vaginal area

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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How to Tell if My Vagina Is Normal