Looking After "V"

>> Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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The vagina is an amazingly sensitive and resilient organ. The muscles of the vagina and pelvic floor are incredibly strong and powerful. Kegel exercises can help to maintain this strength and vaginal tone that may weaken after childbirth or with age. This strength and tone makes sex more enjoyable and helps to prevent urinary incontinence. During sexual excitement, or even masturbation, we can feel that our clitoris enlarges along with the labia minora and vagina. This is because, just like a man's penis, they also contain erectile tissue that becomes engorged with foreplay.

Interestingly, the male and female fetus start out in the womb the same. In fact, there is no way to know if it is a boy or girl prior to 9 weeks. All of us begin life the same - with a set of little gonads that are located inside near the bladder. Then, between 8-9 weeks in the womb, the genetic differences produce different hormones that cause the gonads to change. The male hormones will change the gonads to testicles and the female hormones will change the gonads into ovaries. So it makes sense that, just like when the penis becomes engorged with blood and enlarges, our vagina, labia and clitoris swell and engorge too. When a man enters, it may feel tighter as our vagina wraps around the penis.

Many women worry that after childbirth they are damaged and stretched out. This is rarely true. Women that feel a big change after childbirth usually have some nerve damage from the over stretching of the vagina when the head delivers. Once healed, this over-stretching can leave some of us shocked, because nerve damage, numbness and inability to squeeze the penis with your vaginal muscles will decrease sexual pleasure and ability to orgasm.

It is normal to sweat more in the groin and vaginal area, and this perspiration has a clear function. The multiple glands in the vaginal area supply necessary lubricants that help prevent micro tears and over-heating during normal sexual activity. Because women are at risk for micro tears during normal, pleasurable sex (in both the vaginal and anal areas) it is much easier for women than men to get STDs and other infections. Note: don't share razors and consider holding off sexual contact until a day or two after shaving or waxing the pubic area - longer if you have visible bumps or wounds.

If you have multiple partners or you are concerned your partner is cheating on you, then it is important to use condoms to prevent against STDs. They should be used every time you have sex. But there are many infections that even condoms won't protect you from. They include warts, condylomata, Herpes, molluscum contagiosum (looks like little pimples, some with a head on them) and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) which is the #1 cause of cervical, labial, anal and mouth cancers. This is because they can be transferred from skin-to-skin contact. Foreplay fun can put you at risk way before you start having sex.

Daily discharge is normal for women. The vagina can produce an average of a teaspoon of discharge per day. It is typically white or transparent and odorless, so any changes like odor or itching needs to be checked out. Most odors are from imbalance of the healthy bacteria or from a forgotten tampon. Just before the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle, the discharge is stretchy and more of a mucousy texture and it may have a tinge of blood in it. Ovulation is usually about 2 weeks before your next period, so this can cause concern if you don't know it is normal.

You know we describe the vagina as 'self-cleaning', so resist the urge to douche because it can not only worsen infections but actually cause them. Our bodies naturally possess a delicate balance of yeast and bacteria aimed at keeping the vagina infection free. In fact, being too clean and using over-the-counter feminine hygiene products can actually cause itching and irritation by disrupting our natural balance. They can also put you at risk for more serious infections.

In most cases, the vagina will provide early clues to vaginal infection. A small amount of clear or cloudy fluid passing each day is likely normal, but the vagina signals infection with symptoms such as copious discharge, foul odor, itching, burning, and abnormal bleeding. Routine yearly screenings for vaginal infections, especially when having sex with multiple partners, is extremely important.

WaterWorks is an FDA-cleared device that is meant to remove unwanted vaginal odor. Nothing is more frustrating and embarrassing than vaginal odor that won't go away no matter what we do. None of us want our partner to come near us when we have noticeably smelly vaginal discharge and odor. WaterWorks is a "green" product that is reusable, with replaceable parts, and it uses no pharmaceuticals or chemicals. Please check out the website and www.waterworkshealth.com.

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