In this weeks blog we break down the facts and myths you may not be aware of when it comes to your lady garden. We also talk about the Labia Reduction (Labiaplasty) procedure which has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years. But how well do you actually know your vagina? And if you’re not entirely happy with the size or shape of yours, how can we help?
What you see on the outside is not actually called a vagina
Despite its popular name used, the term vagina isn’t actually the correct name usage for the external parts of your sexual anatomy. The vagina itself is in fact the tube that connects the vulva to the cervix and uterus. It serves as the birth canal during labour and is where menstrual blood flows from during a period. The lesser known and used term ‘vulva’ is the correct and more general term for your external lady parts, but to us it just sounds wrong, which is probably why the word ‘vagina’ has stuck.
The only part of the vagina you can actually see externally is the vaginal opening.
The opening is the hole (of which you have three, counting the opening of the urethra and the anus) that you can see on the vulva, and is how you insert everything from tampons and menstrual cups to fingers and penises.
Did you know you have two sets of labia?
They’re called the labia majora (the outer set) and minora (the inner set). Although people tend to refer to them as ‘lips’ and they probably gained the name because it’s what they resemble.
It’s no guarantee as to which set of labia will be bigger or smaller
When you think of the word ‘majora’ you might instantly presume it means bigger and the same goes for the word ‘minora’ being smaller, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Labias in fact come in all shapes and sizes and every woman is different just like most areas of the body. Some people find their labia minora are longer, it’s what makes us all beautiful in our uniqueness. Sometimes a woman’s labia can be larger than she would like and it could cause discomfort during sexual intercourse or in their everyday life. If you’re affected by yours then a Labia Reduction (Labiaplasty) procedure can help.
What exactly is a Labia Reduction (Labiaplasty) procedure?
Labia Reduction surgery, or Labiaplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that involves modifying the size or shape of large or uneven labia by surgically removing the excess skin. It is natural to have folds of skin around the opening of the vagina and for most, this does not cause any discomfort, but if it does a Labiaplasty procedure will prevent discomfort from being an issue. If you’re concerned about your labia, speak with one of our surgeons who will treat you with dignity and respect throughout your consultation and procedure.
Your labia serves an important purpose and you should take care of them
The labia are responsible for keeping your vagina safe and protected from bacteria and other pathogens. They also have a delicate PH balance which can be disrupted by scented body washes, bath oils or lotions and cause bacterial infections and irritation.
Some common myths
The skin most people inaccurately refer to as the vagina is actually the Mons Pubis
When looking at your vaginal (sorry, we mean Vulva) area straight on, the mound of flesh directly above your vulva is called the Mons Pubis, and it’s generally the area that grows pubic hair once a woman starts puberty. Sometimes this area becomes too fleshy and can appear quite bulky and cause embarrassment due to showing through clothes. This can have a detrimental impact on a woman’s life and prevent them from feeling confident in leggings or their bathing suit. An effective way to reduce the area is by using Liposuction to remove the excess fat.
Your vagina should be odourless
This is probably one of the biggest fallacies when it comes to your lady area and can cause women to feel unnecessarily embarrassed. The vagina contains more bacteria than anywhere else in your body (besides your bowel), so it’s completely normal for it to have a slight odour. And because your bacteria are personal to you, so will your aroma down there and no two vaginas will smell the same. If, however, the smell down there becomes particularly pungent see your GP as you could have a bacterial infection called Bacterial Vaginosis.
Vaginas with pubic hair are unhygienic
This is not actually true, and just like eyelashes and eyebrows are there to protect your eyes, your Vulva grows hair to provide a natural barrier and keep it protected, which was quite handy historically for women before underwear was common place. It’s certainly not a necessity these days so ‘to hair or not to hair’ is purely down to personal preference.
You need to wash your vagina thoroughly
Quite the opposite in fact! Your vagina is actually an internal organ which you should leave well alone when it comes to washing internally. It’s self-cleaning and it’s the external part, your vulva that needs to be cleaned. When it comes to cleaning your vulva think of it as a ‘delicate flower’ and don’t be tempted to scrub it harshly or wash it with heavily scented body washes or soaps.
The skin on your lady parts is the same as the rest of your body
If you’ve ever spent a little time examining your Vulva you will be able to clearly see that the skin in that area looks different to the rest of your body. Every vulva is different so can range in colour and texture, but it’s interesting to know that the PH balance of your intimate area is naturally more acidic than the PH of the skin on the rest of your body and is a very careful balance.
Medically reviewed by
Last Updated: January 3, 2018
Published On: January 3, 2018