As a woman, it is important for you to know the characteristics of a healthy and normal vagina. Moreover, quoting from the Mayo Clinic, an unhealthy vagina can affect fertility levels, sexual ability, and even orgasm. Here are some characteristics of a healthy and normal vagina that women need to understand.
Characteristics of a healthy and normal vagina
The vagina is a small opening beneath a woman's urethra and clitoris. For further explanation, these are the characteristics of a healthy and normal vagina.
1.The shape of the vulva is wrinkled and red
The vulva is the genital organ on the outside of the vagina that you can see with the naked eye. Parts of the vulva include:
• mons pubis (pubic hump),
• labia majora (outer lips),
• labia minora (inner lips),
• clitoris, and
• external openings of the urethra and vagina.
Some women often confuse the vulva and vagina. The vagina, aka the birth canal, is 8 cm long inside the body. Only the vaginal opening (introitus) can be seen from the outside.
Normal vaginal walls are reddish (can be bright pink or brown) and have folds or wrinkles.
The vulva can have wrinkles and this is normal.
In fact, wrinkles on the vulva indicate elasticity. This is not a sign of aging or an abnormal condition.
# Be aware of this condition
You need to be alert if your vulva feels painful or there are strange lumps like vaginal warts because this is a sign that the vagina is not healthy and normal. Vaginal or genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection or occur due to transmission of the virus during sexual intercourse.
2. Vaginal fluid does not have a strong odor
Maybe many women consider vaginal discharge to be abnormal. In fact, vaginal discharge is a fluid whose job is to clean the vagina so that it remains healthy and normal.
The characteristics of a healthy vagina are normal vaginal discharge. Signs of normal vaginal discharge as a sign of a healthy vagina are:
• light or transparent color and liquid texture,
• thick and sticky, milky white,
• paste-like texture,
• vaginal odor is not foul,
• no blood, and
• not thick like yoghurt.
The vaginal discharge that you should be wary of is a gray, yellow or greenish curdled discharge.
Along with a strong foul odor and itching, the discharge can indicate a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis, or bacterial vaginosis.
3. The shape of the vagina resembles a hill
Even though only very little of the vagina can be seen, you will be able to feel the curve in the vagina when you insert your finger into it.
The curves you can feel are like hills and valleys. These indentations are called vaginal rugae which help the vagina expand during sex.
There's no need to worry because the curve is a sign that your vagina is healthy and normal. However, there are things that differentiate between healthy and unhealthy vaginal rugae, such as:
• rough texture, and
• high lump.
This condition indicates that the indentations in the vagina are genital warts. Vaginal pain is not normal, even after sexual intercourse.
If regular sex makes you feel painful, talk to a doctor.
4. The clitoris does not feel painful
Quoting from Boston University School of Medicine, generally the clitoris that is visible from the outside has a size of 0.5 cm to 1.3 cm.
However, there is no need to worry if the size of your clitoris is larger than this figure. The reason is, the size of the clitoris is not a characteristic and benchmark for a healthy and normal vagina.
The size of the clitoris can still increase when the erectile tissue is stimulated. The outer part of the clitoris can also be smaller, even hidden.
Apart from that, the clitoris in some women can also have loose folds of skin at the top.
Having a hidden clitoris doesn't mean you don't have one at all, or that it can't be stimulated. All of these things are normal.
What is not normal is if the clitoral area feels painful or sore. This can occur due to overstimulation during sex or masturbation or a buildup of smegma (such as white patches).
5. The skin color of the labia is the same as the skin of the body
The labia are the most easily visible part of the vulva, namely the covering petals that are split into two parts at the mons pubis.
These petals are called the labia majora or often called "vaginal lips". If you open the labia majora, you will see smaller petals inside, on either side of the vaginal opening.
A characteristic of a healthy and normal vagina is that the color of the labia skin resembles the color of the body's skin, being darker or lighter.
Some labia can have one side that is longer than the other. These are all variations of the normal vaginal shape.
An abnormal vaginal condition is that the labia skin color changes and has white patches.
This condition can be a sign of lichen sclerosus which generally occurs in women of menopausal age.
How to know a healthy and normal vagina
A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to see her vagina and vulva.
Examining your vagina yourself can help you better understand your body and problems that may require medical attention.
The best time to perform a vaginal self-examination is right in the middle of two menstrual cycles.
To perform a vaginal self-examination, you will need the following equipment.
• A small flashlight or good indoor lighting.
• Handheld mirror with long handle.
• Speculum or you can use your hands.
Before doing a self-examination, make sure you carry out proper vaginal care. This treatment includes wearing cotton underwear to absorb sweat and changing them regularly.
To check and find out whether your vagina is healthy or not, here are the steps.
• Wash your hands with soap and running water.
• Take off your underwear and sit on a chair, bed, floor, or sofa.
• Support your back with a pillow so you sit up straight.
• Bend your knees until the soles of your feet are next to your buttocks.
• Lean back slightly and spread your knees so that the pubic area can be seen.
• Hold a mirror in front of your genital area and adjust the direction of the flashlight so you can see inside.
• You can start checking to see the condition of the inside.
• Once finished, spray vaginal cream or douche (vaginal cleansing spray).
Immediately consult a doctor if there is a lump or something unusual in your vagina.