All The Questions You Have About Your Vagina, Answered By A GP!
Recently Dr Dona was interviewed by Refinery 29 – an informative online publication known for offering diverse & inclusive storytelling – to help to break down the shame & emphasize that just like any other part of the body, there is no singular definition of ‘normal’. Each person’s anatomy is unique, & it’s essential to embrace & appreciate this diversity.
We have a great recap here to share:
Breaking Down Stigmas:
Various experiences for women & gender-diverse individuals still carry unnecessary stigma. Issues like mainstream porn perpetuating unrealistic depictions of genitalia, lack of sex education in schools, & an unsettling rise in labiaplasty among young Australians highlight the importance of understanding what a “normal” vagina & vulva truly look like!
Factors Contributing to Vaginal Health:
While there’s no universal definition of “normal,” maintaining a healthy vagina involves factors like a balanced pH level.
Dr Dona notes that a healthy vagina typically has a pH level of around 3.8 to 4.5, which can be influenced by factors such as medication, menstrual cycle, & the use of lubricants. The vagina is adept at self-regulation & requires minimal interference from douches or perfumes. Good personal hygiene & safe sexual practices play a crucial role in maintaining vaginal health.
Lifestyle Choices for Vaginal Wellbeing:
Staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, & managing stress contribute significantly to overall vaginal wellbeing. These lifestyle choices are often overlooked but can have a positive impact on the health of the vagina & vulva.
Understanding Vaginal Discharge:
Vaginal discharge is a normal part of the organ’s self-cleaning process! Dr. Dona emphasizes that understanding what’s consistent for you throughout the menstrual cycle is crucial. Clear or slightly white discharge is usually normal.
Changes in colour, consistency, or odour might indicate an infection. Consulting a GP is recommended if anything feels out of the ordinary.
Changes Over Time:
Vaginas & vulvas undergo changes throughout a person’s life, from puberty through adulthood. Ageing, childbirth, hormonal fluctuations, & certain medical conditions can contribute to these changes. It’s essential to stay in tune with your body, adapt to these changes, & consult a GP if concerned.
Seeking Medical Attention:
Any noticeable or sudden changes in colour, shape, odour, or discharge accompanied by itching, pain, bleeding, or discomfort should prompt a visit to the GP. Ignoring changes could lead to underlying health issues. Additionally, people aged 25 to 74 should ensure they undertake cervical smear tests every five years.
Staying on top of your vaginal health is a vital form of self-care. Acknowledging the ever-changing ecosystem of pH levels & hormonal fluctuations, knowing what’s “normal” for you, & seeking medical advice when needed, are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy vagina & vulva. Embracing the diversity of your body is an empowering journey toward overall well-being!