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The vagina: 10 surprising facts you may not know

The vagina: 10 surprising facts you may not know

Here at &SISTERS, we wanted to make 2019 the year of getting to know our own private parts, intimately. We truly believe that knowledge is power when it comes to prevention and early detection of women’s health issues. So don’t be shy, read on and learn something new about your vagina! Warning: content may make suitably shocking dinner party conversation.

  1. You aren’t even using the word vagina correctly. Whilst the term is used colloquially to describe all female genitalia, the vagina is really only the elastic muscular canal that joins the cervix and hymen. The external sex organs, or vulva, are separate. Really, we should make a distinction between all the bits we can see (the vulva), and the internal parts.
  2. It can expand. This process is called vaginal tenting and occurs when aroused. Increased blood flow to the region cause blood vessels to dilate, in readiness for penetration.
  3. It is self-cleaning. The vagina is the only part of the body that can clean itself, through discharge of natural secretions. After the bowel, the vagina contains the most bacteria in the body, which provide the ‘cleaning’ function. They are responsible for maintaining an even pH, produce naturally occurring antibiotics or bacteriocins, that kill harmful bacteria that may enter the vagina. They also produce a substance that acts as a shield, protecting harmful bacteria from penetrating the vagina walls and thus entering the tissue.
  4. Women get blue balls too (or ‘blue walls’ as this is known). Sadly it appears that the experience of physical discomfort when one fails to orgasm is not one reserved for men.
  5. Your vagina is set at an angle – a 130 degree angle to be precise. You may notice this when inserting a tampon. Instead of straight up, tilt towards your back in order to match the vaginal canal.
  6. They can change colour. When sexually aroused, blood rushes to the labia causing a temporary deepening in colour.
  7. Vagina means sheath in Latin. Pretty accurate when you think about it.
  8. Your vagina is acidic. Its pH is regulated at levels between 3.8 and 4.5, providing the optimum environment for sperm to survive.
  9. It is virtually impossible to loose something in your vagina. The cervix acts as a very effective barrier to the rest of the body, so don’t panic, you haven’t ‘lost’ that tampon. Although if you have any concerns that something is stuck up there, seek medical attention.
  10. Your vagina is an active muscle. We know what you’re thinking – surely not another body part to try and tone. Ladies, take a sigh of relief and put those kettle bells down. Simple kegel exercises, which can be performed anywhere (no equipment or gym membership necessary), offer the prospect of a tighter pelvic floor and in turn, more satisfying penetrative sex.