Vaginas

Like every other part of your body, every woman's vagina is different.

vulva-1--closed

 

The external genital organs (the opening of the vagina), are called the ‘Vulva’. Although most people tend to say vagina rather than vulva, the vagina is actually the muscular tube which leads from the cervix to the vulva.

You have two sets of labia - the outer lips and the inner lips. The outer lips are covered in pubic hair, and they can be very fleshy. The inner lips are inside your outer labia, and don't have any pubic hair on them.
The clitoris looks like a small pea-shaped bump, with a hood of skin covering it. The purpose of the clitoris is to provide sexual pleasure. The clitoris is packed full of nerves, which means it can be extremely sensitive to touch.

 

 

vulva-2--open

 

 

You may like to sit with a hand held mirror, and have a look at your vagina. See if you can find your vaginal opening, outer lips and inner lips and your clitoris.

 

 

 

 

 

Some women have small inner lips, and you might not be able to see them easily. Some women have larger inner lips, and they can hang down outside the outer lips, so they're always visible. They might look very fleshy, and much bigger than the outer lips. Your inner lips can also be different lengths from each other (and so can the outer lips).

One thing is for sure - there is nothing abnormal about having large inner lips that hang down. Lots of women have this and it's perfectly normal.

Discharge

It's normal for all women to get vaginal discharge throughout the month. The amount that comes out can vary, depending on where you're at in your menstrual cycle. Sometimes discharge looks thick and white, and other times (when you're releasing an egg, around ovulation) it looks stringy and clear. It can also have a yellowish look to it.

The point of discharge is to keep the vagina moist, clean and healthy. It cleans the vagina by getting rid of dead cells and bacteria. The amount of discharge can vary from woman to woman, and you may notice more discharge when you're feeling sexually excited.

It's normal for discharge to have a faint smell to it. Sometimes a discharge with a slight brown or pink colour can be a sign that your period is on its way. Or you can get a brownish discharge at the end of your period. But if it smells unpleasant or makes you itch, or looks an unusual colour or texture, this can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection or a vaginal infection.

If you haven't started your periods yet, getting discharge is usually a sign that your periods will start in the near future.

Pubic hair

Pubic hair grows around your vagina and can sometimes grow around the top of your thighs or stomach. It can be course or fine, straight or curly, dark or light - it's all completely normal.

Some people like to remove some or all of their pubic hair. Lots of people also choose to leave their pubic hair exactly the way it is. Everyone's different and the way you choose to keep your public hair is entirely up to you.

If you have any questions about your body, call Ask Brook on 0808 802 1234. Your call will be confidential. That means we won't tell anyone about it.

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