Vaginal Health : Test Your Medical FAQs
Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on December 2, 2019
Test your Knowledge!
- The vagina includes the labia, clitoris, and uterus. True or false?
- All vaginas are the same shape and size. True or false?
- The G-spot is a specific area on the vaginal wall. True or false?
- What is toxic shock syndrome?
- Doctors do not recommend women use douche. True or false?
- Vaginal discharge is normal. True or false?
- What are Kegels?
- Childbirth can change the vaginal. True or false?
- Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse is rare. True or false?
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Q:The vagina includes the labia, clitoris, and uterus. True or false?
The vagina is often mistakenly used to describe the entirety of a woman's genitalia, but the vagina is the narrow, elastic, muscular canal that leads to the cervix and uterus. The labia and clitoris are part of the vulva, the external parts of the genitalia. The labia are the lips that surround the exterior of the vaginal opening, and the clitoris is an extremely sensitive pea- or bean-sized nodule located where the labia minora (inner lips) meet. The uterus, or womb, is a muscular organ located internally at the end of the vagina that functions to accept a fertilized egg and support a fetus during gestation.
Q:All vaginas are the same shape and size. True or false?
Vaginas vary widely in shape, size, and color. There is no “normal” or “standard” size, shape, or color. Factors such as age, pregnancy and childbirth, certain health conditions, and genetics affect the appearance of the vagina and exterior vulva. Unless you are experiencing pain, notice and sores or bumps, or experience unusual or smelly discharge – in which case see a doctor - your vagina's shape, size, and color are normal and natural variations.
Q:The G-spot is a specific area on the vaginal wall. True or false?
The G-spot is supposedly a sensitive area of the vagina that, when stimulated, can lead to sexual arousal and orgasm, but its existence has not been conclusively proven. There is no consensus on where or what the G-Spot is, and while some women may become sexually aroused form stimulation of this area, many others find it uncomfortable. The term G-spot was coined in the 1980's in reference to a German gynecologist named Ernst Grafenberg, who documented this region within the vagina.
Q:What is toxic shock syndrome?
A:Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare and life-threatening condition caused by bacterial infections.
One of the most common causes of toxic shock syndrome is leaving a tampon in too long, particularly super absorbent types. Symptoms of TSS include high fever, flu-like symptoms (headache, chills, tiredness, muscle aches, sore throat, and cough), diarrhea, sunburn-like rash, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, confusion and disorientation, and redness in the lips, tongue, eyes, and vagina. Changing tampons regularly – every 4 to 8 hours – reduces the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome.
Q:Doctors do not recommend women use douche. True or false?
Douching is the process of cleaning the vagina with water or other fluids. Doctors recommend women do not douche as it can lead to many healthy problems. Douching upsets the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina (vaginal flora), which can cause harmful bacteria to proliferate and lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. If you have an existing vaginal infection, douching may push the bacteria up into the uterus and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Douching can also cause problems during pregnancy.
Q:Vaginal discharge is normal. True or false?
Vaginal discharge is normal and it can vary in color, consistency, and amount depending on a woman's menstrual cycle. If discharge is milky or cleat, with a creamy or sticky consistency this is normal. See a doctor if vaginal discharge has a strong odor, is yellow or green in color, thick or cheesy in consistency, there is bleeding or spotting not related to your period, or if the discharge is accompanied by irritation or itching around the vulva or vagina.
Q:What are Kegels?
A:Kegels, also called pelvic floor exercises, are exercises in which you contract and relax the muscles of the pelvic floor to strengthen them.
Benefits of strong pelvic floor muscles include preventing urine leakage (incontinence), easier vaginal delivery during childbirth, and improving the ability to reach orgasm.
Q:Childbirth can change the vaginal. True or false?
Most women will experience some changes after a vaginal delivery. Some of these changes will go away as the post-partum hormones go back to pre-pregnancy levels, but some changes will remain. The vagina may feel looser, particularly within the first year following delivery. Kegel exercises may help. Vaginal dryness may occur, often in women who are nursing since breastfeeding causes estrogen levels to drop, and a lack of estrogen can result in vaginal dryness. This is often temporary and lubrication returns to normal once a woman stops nursing. The vulva outside the vagina may change color due to hormones and tearing or scarring as a result of childbirth. This may fade over time but often does not return to pre-pregnancy color.
Q:Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse is rare. True or false?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly 3 in 4 women experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives. Causes of pain during intercourse include endometriosis or ovarian cysts, some skin disorders, vulvodynia, vaginismus, hormonal changes, vaginal infections, childbirth, low sexual desire, or lack of arousal which can result in insufficient lubrication. Talk to your doctor if you experience pain during intercourse.
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