Ever asked: 'Is my vagina normal'? The answer is probably yes
Ever asked: 'Is my vagina normal'? The answer is probably yes, but unfortunately, research has shown that many Australian women would rather 'Google' symptoms for issues 'down there' than actually see a doctor about them.
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Of course, an irritating itch or whiffy odour can be a little embarrassing, but catching any potential issues early (and properly) is important and can help to ensure your fertility stays intact, too.
Unsure about what is 'normal' and what isn't? Here are five of the biggest issues women don’t want to discuss with their friends, their GP – or anyone other than their search engine. (Boys, you may want to skip this one).
1. Big flaps
What does a normal vagina look like? The fact is, all vaginas have the same parts but look a little different. Some may hang low, others may wobble to and fro – but so what? There’s nothing to say that your vagina isn’t completely perfect to look at – and if your worry is in the bedroom, odds are any guy is far more interested in the fact that he’s getting lucky, than what your vagina looks like.
2. ‘Fishy’ smell
A normal healthy vagina does have a scent, but it’s in no way supposed to be overpowering or ‘fishy’ in odour. A strong odour could be an indication of the presence of something like a yeast infection, which is easily treatable – or something more sinister, like a Sexually Transmitted Infection. The fact is, symptoms for both are fairly similar, which is why a visit to your GP is so important. If you happen to be a little extra ‘whiffy’ because it’s that time of the month, or you’ve been on the go all day, a great instant fix is Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Wipes – which will freshen you up ‘down there’ in a single swipe.
3. An ‘outie’ vagina
An ‘outie’ vagina refers to a woman’s Labia Minora (inner lips) hanging down further than your Labia Major (outer lips). Many women are self conscious of this difference and seem to think that everything should be tucked away neatly. The fact is this isn’t always the case – and it’s definitely not abnormal. Some women are so fixated on the idea of a 'normal looking vagina' or a ‘designer vagina’ that they’ve taken to undergoing surgery to ‘neaten up’ the area by effectively trimming parts of their vagina.
4. Vaginal itching
Thrush is a yeast imbalance that is estimated to affect 75 per cent of all women at some stage of their lives. Though easily treatable with over-the-counter treatments, the ‘itchy’ sensation is beyond annoying and shouldn’t be left without treatment. Why go and see a doctor and not just pick up thrush treatment? Just like with a strong vaginal odour, symptoms of thrush can be likened to those of more serious issues, such as STIs, which can lead to infertility if left untreated.
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5. Vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge is one of those icky, cringeworthy phrases that women want to steer clear of. But while we agree it doesn’t need to be discussed at every Sunday afternoon get together, it definitely isn’t something to be ashamed of. All women experience discharge, it’s identifying the differences in your discharge that’s the key to catching any potential issues. It’s also worth noting that your discharge changes during your menstrual cycle.
So what have we learned about self-diagnosing? Google does not have a degree in medicine. The fact of the matter is that doctors have seen it all; they’ve been trained to perform the checks that can help to protect your health and your fertility. They’re not there to judge or critique what you’ve got going on downstairs – if they were, don’t you think guys would have the biggest complex of all?
Are you ashamed to talk about your girly bits? Is there something that you would like to be able to talk about with your friends or doctor?