The vagina is more than just the opening that leads to the cervix and the uterus, although some people are surprised to learn that it extends quite a bit deeper into your body. In fact, did you know that the vagina actually wraps around the urethra?
This means that every time you pee, some of it will leak out of your vagina, unless you’re able to stop it with your muscles.
Some of the other interesting facts about vaginas are also very important for all women to know, whether they’re sexually active or not. Here are 16 surprising vagina facts all women should know.
16 Surprising vagina facts:
The vagina is one of the least talked about and yet most important parts of a woman’s body, at least in terms of sex and reproduction.
When it comes to vaginal health, it can be difficult to find out the facts since many women and girls are afraid to talk about their own bodies and those of others. Here are 16 unbelievable vagina facts you may have never heard before.
1. The average vagina size is 4 inches:
The average vagina size is between three and four inches, with a standard deviation of an inch. The vaginal canal will lengthen during arousal and then contract back to its normal dimensions after arousal subsides. Even though vaginas come in different shapes and sizes, there’s nothing abnormal about yours; it’s totally normal for your vagina to look different depending on time of day or how aroused you are.
The length of a vagina can change depending on how aroused a woman is. The vagina expands to allow for sexual penetration and becomes tighter during sex.
However, after arousal subsides, it returns to its normal size. While it’s natural for your vagina to feel different at different times, there’s nothing abnormal about feeling differently based on when you last ate or how much water you drank that day. Every vagina changes depending on what time of day it is!
The best way to measure your vagina size is by putting a tampon in as far as it will go, then checking its length. If you have never had sexual intercourse, it’s recommended that you don’t use vaginal dilators or try to expand your vagina. It can be uncomfortable and cause harm to your vagina if you push objects inside of it before it is ready for sex.
The average vagina is about four inches long, so even if you don’t experience vaginal orgasms, it doesn’t mean that your body isn’t normal. Whether or not you can orgasm from penetration alone depends on how much stimulation is felt in your clitoris and to a lesser extent, in your vagina. Most women need an indirect combination of clitoral and vaginal stimulation to achieve orgasm.
2. Our labia are supposed to be different sizes:
If you’re worried about your labia — or any other part of your vagina, for that matter — you’re not alone. A 2013 study found that 40 percent of women are unhappy with their appearance.
But some anomalies are normal; our vulvas don’t all look like Barbie dolls. In fact, our labia majora (outer lips) and minora (inner lips) vary greatly in size, color, and shape from person to person.
For example, you might have larger labia or a longer labia minora than your friends — and that’s completely normal. We tend to compare ourselves to what we see in porn or on social media.
Don’t compare your vulva to anyone else’s, says gynaecologist Dr. Sherry A. Ross, author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. There is no normal when it comes to labia size and shape or coloring; everyone is different. Labia that protrude and hang down are perfectly healthy just as those that are neatly tucked away from view.
No matter what your labia look like, you can do a few things to protect them from yeast and bacterial infections, as well as chafing and irritation. To keep your labia healthy and happy, remember these 3 tips: use water-based lubricants when needed, wear loose underwear made of soft fabrics that won’t rub or cause chafing, and change out of wet swimwear quickly after getting out of a pool or sea.
If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort when you urinate, it could be a sign of infection. To help prevent infections, try to urinate directly into a toilet instead of a public bathroom sink. Using wet wipes to clean your vulva after going to the bathroom can also spread bacteria and yeast around your labia and urethra.
3. The hymen doesn’t always break when we have sex for the first time:
Not all women bleed when they have sex for the first time. It’s important to remember that bleeding during intercourse isn’t a clear indicator of virginity. The hymen is a thin piece of tissue located just inside your vagina.
Keep in mind that even if you have sex for a long time or use a tampon, it’s still possible for your hymen to remain intact. The hymen can also be broken due to an injury, or during sports. If you are concerned about whether or not your hymen is intact, contact your gynecologist. He or she will be able to let you know.
In fact, some women are born without a hymen at all. If you’re experiencing pain or bleeding after intercourse, talk to your gynecologist. He or she will be able to assess whether or not you’ve experienced an injury in addition to performing any other examinations which may be necessary.
It’s also possible to lose your virginity through non-penetrative activities like masturbation. Your hymen can break as a result of some gymnastic moves, like splits, which means that there’s no way to know for sure if you’re still a virgin.
It’s also important to know that if you break your hymen during exercise, it will likely heal on its own. The natural process of repair can take a few weeks, so it is unlikely that you’ll need medical intervention. However, you should still talk to your gynecologist in case there are other issues involved.
It’s also important to remember that you can break your hymen without having sex. Don’t feel pressured by partners or family members into doing anything you don’t want to do. If you want to experiment with sex, that’s fine; if not, that is also fine.
4. You can get it wet!
It may seem strange, but believe it or not, you’re supposed to get your vagina wet (no, we’re not referring to getting her in bed). Just like any other organ of your body, it can dry out — and that can cause problems. The vagina has a natural balance of bacteria in it for its health and wellbeing, says Dr. Ojeme.
5. There are many reasons why vaginas can smell bad:
Some women have bacteria overgrowth in their vaginal areas, while others may have an issue with pH. As long as you stay on top of your personal hygiene, there’s nothing to worry about.
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. It doesn’t need to be scrubbed, washed or douched regularly – in fact, doing so could damage your sensitive vaginal tissues and cause an infection or even cancer. Instead, vaginas should only be washed when necessary – for example, after using the toilet. You can also use a mild soap like Dove or Dermacare but make sure to wash it off completely afterwards.
Your vagina is home to a large number of bacteria. These bacteria help keep your vagina healthy, but can cause vaginal odors if you don’t stay on top of your personal hygiene. You can reduce or eliminate odor by keeping clean, washing regularly and avoiding douching.
Your vagina’s pH may vary during your monthly cycle. The normal vaginal pH is between 3.5 and 4.5, but can rise or fall depending on your menstrual cycle. For example, if you have an abundance of yeast in your vagina, it will cause a higher-than-normal level of acidity – making you more susceptible to infections during certain times of month than others.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing may cause your vagina to smell. Tight undergarments like thongs or tight-fitting yoga pants can cause bacteria to build up in your vaginal area, leading to odors. To avoid smelly vaginas, make sure you wear loose fitting underwear and pants that give your genitalia enough room to breathe.
You can reduce vaginal odor by staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause your vagina to sweat, which will lead to odors. To avoid fishy smelly vaginas, drink at least eight glasses of water every day and reduce alcohol consumption if you have a bad habit of getting dehydrated often. Drinking enough water can also help keep your vaginal pH balanced and prevent yeast infections – another common cause of smelly vaginas.
6. There is no normal:
As you know, every vagina is different — and it’s important to note that there is no normal when it comes to vaginal odor. For example, some women will notice a stronger odor than others (this can be caused by an imbalance in hormones), and many people are under the impression that fishy or sour smells mean something is wrong with your pH balance.
Did you know that your diet has a huge impact on how your vagina smells?
If you’re concerned about a strong odor, try eating less red meat and dairy products. Instead, load up on green leafy vegetables, which contain chlorophyll — the stuff that makes plants look green.
Eating fiber will also help because it moves slowly through your digestive system, helping to reduce bloating, gas and constipation. Meanwhile, drinking plenty of water will ensure that there’s a steady supply of fresh urine that can keep your vagina clean.
Don’t forget that your vaginal health is directly linked to your general health. That means you should always be mindful of what you eat, how much exercise you get and how often you go to bed early for a good night’s sleep. Not only will these factors impact how you feel in general, but they can also make a difference in terms of vaginal odor.
7. How our underwear affects vaginal health:
In order to know how to take care of your vagina and keep it healthy, you need to be aware of certain factors. Our underwear can make a huge difference. The material we wear on our bodies has a direct impact on our vaginal health. Everything from underwear made from cotton or bamboo instead of synthetic materials will help fight against bacteria and keep your vagina healthy.
To understand how our underwear affects vaginal health, we need to understand just how important maintaining a healthy pH level is. There are five factors that help maintain our pH level and all of them require good, quality cotton underwear. When you’re buying new underwear for yourself or for your loved one, be sure to choose cotton over synthetic materials like nylon or spandex.
Studies show that a cotton pH level is between 4.5 and 5.5, which is ideal for vaginal health, while spandex tends to have a high pH level of 8-10.
A higher pH level can lead to an increase in bacterial growth that puts you at risk for urinary tract infections and yeast infections. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your underwear and how it affects vaginal health!
8. Vitamin K can help prevent yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis:
This is because Vitamin K promotes a healthy microbiome in your vagina, which can naturally prevent you from developing yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. So make sure to get at least 120 micrograms of Vitamin K every day by eating foods such as kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.
There are many misconceptions about yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, with most people thinking they are caused by poor hygiene. However, these conditions are actually caused by imbalances in your vagina’s microbiome, which is where bacteria live.
This means that diet is one of the most important factors in preventing yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, because it can change your microbiome. This includes eating foods containing Vitamin K to promote a healthy microbiome within your vagina, so you don’t develop either of these conditions.
If you already have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, don’t panic. You can find natural treatments that you can try to treat these conditions at home, such as applying vitamin E oil to your vagina and eating foods containing niacinamide.
These remedies won’t work for everyone, but they are worth trying if you want an alternative to antibiotics.
9. Help heal your lady parts with CBD oil:
We’ve all heard of CBD, short for cannabidiol, a powerful ingredient in cannabis with purported healing benefits. From CBD oil to THC patches and ointments, there are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of cannabis. But there’s one form that deserves a special mention: vaginal suppositories. With some promising research to back it up, vaginal suppositories could be another weapon in your medicinal arsenal against anxiety, menstrual cramps and even bacterial vaginosis.
Unfortunately, not much research has been done on vaginal suppositories, so while they might be a new frontier in treating ailments and discomforts that affect your vagina, there’s no way to know for sure if they really work or how they work.
But researchers are trying to fill in those gaps with some studies, so watch out for more information coming down the pike. In the meantime, you might want to try them out. If nothing else, it can’t hurt to give them a shot!
To use vaginal suppositories, it’s recommended that you take them before bedtime to prevent any unwanted side effects. Because they’re so high in CBD and low in THC, taking one of these at bedtime is often safer than other options. You might also want to avoid driving or doing anything else that requires your full attention after you pop one of these babies in there.
In short, CBD vaginal suppositories may be one of your newest tools in your feminine health toolbox. But because not much research has been done yet, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before trying them out. And always remember that cannabis isn’t for everyone.
10. Our culture has normalized female genital mutilation:
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 200 million women around the world have undergone some form of genital mutilation, with half of them being under 18. That’s a staggering one in three females on earth who has experienced some kind of physical trauma involving their genitals. The practice is so normalized in parts of Africa and Asia that it’s often performed by midwives or other informal care providers, rather than health professionals.
The psychological trauma caused by female genital mutilation (FGM) is also severe. Women can experience feelings of isolation, anger, depression and anxiety. They may feel ashamed of their bodies and fear being rejected by sexual partners. These issues can lead to physical ailments like difficulty during childbirth or urination; they can also impact women’s relationships with themselves and others.
FGM is a human rights violation. While it’s not banned in most countries, it has been recognized as a crime in at least 29 countries, including Canada and all of Europe. In Egypt, where over 90 percent of women have been cut, lawmakers are currently working on introducing new legislation that would make FGM illegal. If enacted, Egypt will become just one of three African countries to outlaw FGM.
The medical community has spoken out against FGM. Both WHO and Amnesty International recognize that there is no health benefit to FGM, despite claims by some communities that it reduces women’s libido or preserves virginity. It can cause a whole host of complications during childbirth, as well as urination problems. Because it’s performed without anesthetic and is usually done in unsanitary conditions, it increases a woman’s risk of contracting HIV or other STIs.
11. The hymen can be stretched, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a girl is ready for sex:
The hymen, a thin membrane that stretches across part of a woman’s vaginal opening, can be stretched or torn through vigorous activity — or even just by inserting a tampon. This doesn’t mean she’s not ready for sex. If a girl is aroused and relaxed and feels comfortable with her partner, she’ll likely experience pleasure from intercourse, whether or not her hymen is still intact.
Because of its role in preserving a girl’s virginity, some women view their hymens as an indication of purity. That’s not always true, however; because it has no nerve endings, some women report never having experienced pain associated with tearing or stretching their hymens, even after vigorous sex.
Additionally, doctors now know that many women are born without hymens and some have uteruses and vaginas which don’t connect to form a closed cavity.
What is important is whether a woman wants to engage in sex. If she does, she should be open with her partner about her feelings and desires — and encourage him to do likewise. Communication will help keep both partners comfortable, ensuring that neither feels pressured into sexual activity before he or she is ready. It also creates an environment for exploring boundaries and limits together — something that can only benefit a long-term relationship.
Additionally, just because a woman is still a virgin doesn’t mean she’s saving herself for someone. Some women are waiting to have sex until they feel emotionally and physically ready; others are holding out because they’re not interested in having sex at all. Neither of these scenarios means that there’s something wrong with them or that they should change their minds — they simply mean that they aren’t ready yet.
12. Labiaplasty (a.k.a. vaginal rejuvenation) became popular in Korea in the 1990s:
The surgery, which involves reducing and reshaping one’s labia, spread to Brazil and China. With celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian talking about their butt injections on Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy to imagine that vaginal plastic surgery (known as vaginoplasty) is just around the corner. While experts are divided on whether women should undergo these procedures at all, it seems likely that we will soon see a rise in vaginal cosmetic surgeries in Western countries as well.
Labiaplasty (sometimes called vaginal rejuvenation) was invented in Korea in 1999 and spread to China, Brazil, and elsewhere. The term refers to any number of surgeries that reduce or reshape labia — the flaps of skin that surround a woman’s vagina — usually because they are enlarged or asymmetrical. But it’s unclear how many women have been satisfied with these procedures; some experts say that many women are self-conscious about their labia but don’t need to be.
Around 50% of women are unhappy with their labia, according to a 2014 study published in International Urogynecology Journal. Other studies show that younger women with large labia are more likely to be unhappy about their bodies and anxious about how they look naked — an anxiety that can have serious consequences for mental health. For instance, young women with enlarged labia have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem than those without.
Labiaplasty has been approved by many countries, including Brazil and India, since 2000. Still, only about 100,000 procedures are performed annually worldwide — although some data suggest that both labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation are on the rise in Western countries. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with undergoing a procedure like plastic surgery: If a woman is dissatisfied with her labia or wants to increase comfort during sex, then she should absolutely explore her options for getting surgery.
13. There’re only 30% good bacteria left in your vaginas today compared to 40 years ago due to the rise of antibiotics:
Antibiotics are great for helping to kill off bacteria, but they’re wiping out most of your vagina’s good bacteria at an alarming rate. It’s important to replenish these good bacteria in order to stay healthy, so be sure you take a probiotic daily. If your doctor gives you antibiotics for a sickness or infection, make sure you ask him or her about taking a probiotic alongside it.
If you have low levels of good bacteria in your vagina, it can lead to vaginal infections, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and a condition called bacterial vaginosis. It’s important to note that antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria — making it just as important to maintain your gut health so that it doesn’t disrupt your vaginal flora in any way.
If you’re experiencing issues like bacterial vaginosis, vaginal dryness, discharge and itching, get to your doctor as soon as possible. It might be that you have an infection or other health problem — but it could also be due to a lack of good bacteria.
This is especially common among women who are taking antibiotics for long periods of time or for chronic issues. If you suspect that something like that is going on with your vagina health, do not hesitate to seek out a doctor’s help.
14. Women produce one pound of vaginal discharge per year:
It’s likely that you never thought about it, but yes — women constantly excrete a clear liquid that comes from their vaginas. Made up of water, salt, and sometimes antibodies and pheromones, vaginal discharge is necessary to keep our lady parts healthy.
But that’s not all. It turns out, there are some interesting facts about vaginal discharge that you probably didn’t know before. It’s one of those things that we never really think about, but should. Women produce up to a pound of vaginal discharge every year.
Yes, a pound!
This is why having good hygiene is so important — that stuff contains healthy bacteria which helps keep you clean and your body functioning properly.
With that in mind, you might think it would be a good idea to hold on to it, put it on your face or something. However, you shouldn’t do that. It’s completely normal and healthy, but not all discharge is good for you. Some is actually a bad sign and can even be dangerous!
So what exactly is vaginal discharge and why do we have it?
Turns out, vaginal discharge has a lot of different names, but all are referring to approximately the same thing: fluid that comes from your vagina. That fluid cleanses and moisturizes your vagina, maintains its pH balance and keeps it lubricated.
If it’s healthy and there’s no reason to worry, you probably don’t give your vaginal discharge a second thought. But sometimes vaginal discharge can be an indication of something going on down there — and those signs can vary from one woman to another.
For example, if you notice an increase in vaginal discharge accompanied by a strong fishy odor and itchiness, then it might be an indication of a bacterial infection. If you experience burning during urination, pain in your abdomen and cramping accompanied by mucus-like discharge, then those could be symptoms of urinary tract infections.
Although it’s normal to have some discharge, if you experience excessive vaginal discharge or notice an unusual change in color, consistency or smell, then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. It could be that you’re suffering from a condition called vaginitis.
15. When we think about vaginas, our minds instantly go dirty! In fact, 50% of women didn’t even realize their vaginas had an odor until they were sexually active or older:
That’s how taboo we make talking about our nether regions! But it’s okay — it’s time to talk about what makes our pussies unique.
We do things like shave, wax and bleaching our vaginas to make them look pretty, but they’re perfectly designed on their own. How is it we see all of these different body parts as flawed and abnormal, when actually they’re perfect just how they are? It’s time we started talking about vaginal health, pleasure and hygiene in more detail so women can be empowered to take care of themselves. A vagina is more than just a sexual organ!
16. Did you know there’s a medical condition called vaginal flatulence which refers to gas passing through the vaginal canal? It’s called rectal flatulence if it comes from another hole down below.
We should also mention that there are many other interesting vagina facts out there. While most of them are true, some of them are not. The problem is that most of us don’t know how to identify which facts are fact and which ones aren’t.
In some cases, vaginal flatulence is caused by a yeast infection. Yeast infections can occur when your immune system is impaired. Flatulence is one of several symptoms of a yeast infection in women, including itching and thick white discharge from your vagina.
Taking over-the-counter antifungal medicines may clear up these types of infections quickly. More serious types of vaginal infections usually require an antibiotic prescription from your doctor. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. A healthy vagina contains yeast, but only a small amount. The normal yeast population grows in balance with other types of vaginal bacteria.
When your body is unbalanced due to stress, poor diet or menstruation, these microscopic organisms can overgrow and cause an infection. Although symptoms of yeast infections vary from person to person. The best way to prevent yeast infections is to maintain good vaginal health through proper hygiene and regular doctor visits. Taking over-the-counter antifungal medicines may clear up these types of infections quickly.
While your vagina is undoubtedly a very special part of your body, it’s important to remember that yours is unique. Your vagina, along with everything else about you, is unique. So while some of these facts may be true for most women (or even all women), it’s important to remember that these generalizations aren’t true for everyone and they definitely don’t apply to you.
No two vaginas are alike, so it’s important to remember that your vagina isn’t normal just because it doesn’t look like someone else’s. Instead, celebrate your uniqueness and be grateful for what you have.