Your vagina has probably already blessed you with many different experiences – from intense pleasure to unbearable pain to who knows what else! But how much do we really know about what’s going on down there? Here is some va-jay-jay trivia you may find helpful and interesting:
All hymens are not created equal
“Some people have a little bit more of a prominent hymen than others, to the point where it needs a surgical correction,” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, a New York-based gynecologist and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, co-author of “V is for Vagina.” Women who have what is called an imperforate hymen may experience pain when inserting a tampon or during sexual intercourse, or may be physically unable to achieve either. What is interesting is that women rarely notice when their hymen is broken, she says. But some will notice light bleeding the first time they have sexual intercourse.
Vaginal weight lifting exists
Strange as it may sound, women around the world are testing the strength of their pelvic floor muscles by lifting anything from household items, to surfboards and weights. Of course, Dweck suggests you not try this at home. “The vagina is really strong. You can build up muscles to enhance sexual function and prevent and treat leakage with Kegel exercises, using only your body or teeny, tiny kegel weights. Heavy weights are not recommended.”
There’s even an app for that. Elvie is a Bluetooth-enabled egg that is inserted into the vagina. Connected to your smartphone, it tracks the strength of kegel muscle contractions through motion sensors. Who may need it kegel exercises? “Women who have had a lot of children, or women who are suffering with incontinence. Heavy weights are not recommended,” Dweck says.
Speaking of exercise…
Just in case you didn’t know, always choose cotton underwear for workouts. Your vagina will thank you. “It’s breathable, absorbent, and flexible — pulling moisture away from the skin and allowing some air flow,” says Mimi Secor, family nurse practitioner at Newton Wellesley ObGyn in Newton, Mass. “Moisture build up can lead to irritation, yeast infections or bacterial infections and as you might guess, the more sweat the more moisture.”
Your clitoris has some nerves!
The clitoris contains at least 8,000 sensory nerve endings. Wow! “It has more nerve endings than anywhere else. It’s very sensitive. It has no other known purpose but pleasure,” Dweck says. In comparison, some sources cite the penis has having about 4,000 nerve endings.
“Vagina” is not an all-encompassing word
That’s right. The term vagina really just describes the tube that leads from your vulva to your cervix. Your vulva –aka your external genitals – includes your inner and outer labia, your clitoris and your perineum.
Your V has allergies
You can be allergic to an array of things down there – from contraceptives, to tampons and even semen.
You don’t need a prescription to treat common infections, like yeast
Approximately three out of four women will get a yeast infection in her lifetime, and while they are totally uncomfortable, they are also quite common and treatable at home. Some tried home remedies include wearing a tampon in tea tree oil at night, applying plain, unsweetened yogurt to the vaginal area to relieve itching, and drinking a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Try those at your own risk, Dweck and other experts say. However, one other popular option are products like MONISTAT 1, 3 and 7 , a doctor recommended, over-the-counter treatment for yeast infections. As common as they are, “not everything that you feel is a yeast infection,” Dweck says. “Get checked out and make sure that you’re not dealing with another type of infection.”
Your va-jay-jay communicates with you.
“The vagina can give you messages about your body,” Dweck says. When you’re fertile, you’ll often get a clean, thin mucous discharge.
Much like an oven, it’s self-cleaning.
You shouldn’t have to use products to clean your vagina, “Dweck says. “It has its on mechanisms. It has a distinct ecosystem.” Diet, medications and exercise may change the scent of the your vagina, however. And if you have an odor that concerns you, see your doctor!
Deja Leonard is a freelance writer and a lover of all things active. This Canadian has played almost any sport you can name and is always up for an adventure! Check out her Twitter @dejaleonard3. Stacy Julien contributed to this story.