What’s Normal Down There and What’s Not?
Many women are concerned about what is normal in the vaginal area. Here are a few pearls to think about…
While the recent trend is to groom and modify your pubic hair, having coarse darker hair in the genital area is perfectly normal. It is personal preference to shave, trim or groom the hair in your private area. It’s perfectly normal to keep your pubic hair the way you want it. There is no medical reason to modify it except for personal reasons. Some women feel sexier with a smooth pelvic area while others prefer some hair. Grooming may increase your risk for local irritation so be mindful of your shaving techniques or seek out a professional laser hair removal specialist.
Shape and Size
There is no standard “normal” size for the external vulvar lips and women will vary with respect to their size and shape. Some may have a large clitoris where others are hidden underneath the prepuce or female clitoral skin covering. It’s also perfectly normal to have asymmetrical vulvar lips. For some women, the discrepancy may be problematic and cause a functional problem like chafing or painful intercourse; some women report lowered sexual self-esteem due to the shape and size of their labia. If you are considering cosmetic vulvar surgery, ensure you consult an experienced surgeon, well versed in the technique since complications are not infrequent and not everyone receives a satisfactory result. Vulvas are uniquely different.
Every vagina may smell differently, and women have a different natural secretive lubricant. If you notice that the smell is different or if it smells foul or fishy, it may mean that you have an underlying infection. It’s important to seek medical care should you notice any changes in your natural vaginal odor.
Red, pink, purplish or even shades of brown are not uncommon colors in the genital area. The color can change with hormonal influences, ages and underlying medical conditions. If you have moles or other specific areas of discolorations, mention these to your gynecologist and consider monitoring these in area, border, color changes or diameter.
Vagina is self-cleaning.
The vagina is an amazing self-cleaning organ and has the natural ability to regulate its vagina pH (or acid base balance). Care should be exercised if you are using over the counter cleansers for the external vulvar lips – most washes have harsh detergent-like ingredients that destroy and strip away the natural protective oils of the vulvar skin. Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion is a safe alternative, however, as it does not contain harsh ingredients and instead contains ingredients that help nourish the skin. Also, avoid any harsh chemical, flavors, scents or other irritants that can irritate the delicate skin.
Written by Dr. Krychman