Vagina is a specific part of the female reproductive system. It is the muscular tube between the vulva or the external female genitalia, including the labia and clitoris to the cervix. Research has found that vaginal length can range from 2.7 to 3.1 inches. During sexual arousal, it is estimated that its depth can range from 4.3 to 4.7 inches. Vagina also change as we age and after delivery leading to decrease laxity and vaginal secretions causing dryness and painful sexual intercourse.
Your vagina has a slight acidic pH of less than 4.5 due to growth of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus. The presence of good bacteria prevent the growth of bad infection that can lead to candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis and allowing the sperm to swim. Use of soap (which commonly has slight alkaline pH) can disturb the balance of pH in the vagina. Vagina can clean itself, so there is really no need to rigorously washing your vagina. Using just water is enough to clean your vagina area. With age and menopause, there is declining level of estrogen leading to decrease level of Lactobacillus and making your vagina more prone to infection. Use of probiotic supplement or probiotic- containing foods and drinks such as Yoghurt, Kefir can Yakult help to boost the good bacteria flora.
Your vagina has odourless scents and normal vaginal secretion is usually slightly whitish, thin and almost transparent. Occasionally it may get slightly thickened from hormonal changes and sexual activity. However, if you notice increasing amount of vaginal discharge expecially thick opaque white, the color turning grey, yellow or green and are associated with foul- smelling odour, vaginal itch and burning pain, you may likely have vaginal infection. Talk to your doctor on the appopriate testing and treatment available to help your symptoms.
How can you keep your vagina healthy? Avoid use of harsh soap, scented body soap or feminine wash and tight-fitted underwear and jeans. Use underwear that are made from cotton. Avoid practice of shaving and waxing your pubic hair as this can cause local skin irritation to the sensitive area of your vagina and make it more prone to infections such as folliculitis and Bartholin cyst. Pubic hair is important to trap the bad organisms, dirt and debris just like our eyelashes. It can also help reduce irritation due to friction during sexual activity. Use a scissor to trim the pubic hair to keep it from growing too long
Regular sexual activity has been shown to keep your vagina healthy. Pelvic floor exercise can also help tighten the vagina, improve urinary incontinence and sexual satisfaction. Use of vaginal lubricants before sexual activity can help to decrease the discomfort associated with dryness. You can also use vaginal moisturiser containing Hyaluronic acid to increase the moisture in the vagina. It is also important to practice safe sex practice and use of condom for protection during sexual activity.
If you have any further questions about your vagina's health, talk to our doctor today for more information.