This female organ plays a central role in childbirth, menstruation, and sexual intercourse.
The vagina is a muscular tube that extends from a woman’s vulva, to the outside of her body, to her genitals, to her cervix, to the lower part of her uterus – which is called “pregnancy” during pregnancy. The fetus grows.
In other words, the vagina must connect the uterus to the outside of the body.
A woman’s vagina is open, surrounded by hymen, a thin tissue membrane that can tear during intercourse or exercise.
In adult women, the vagina is usually 3 to 5 inches long. It stands with a sticky membrane.
The vaginal lining consists of folds and wrinkles during the reproductive years. Before puberty and after menopause, this lining is smooth.
Functions of the Vagina
The vagina plays many different roles in a woman’s body.
During vaginal sexual intercourse, a man’s penis enters the vagina. The vagina acts as a passage for a man’s sperm to reach a woman’s egg, which can lead to pregnancy.
When a woman is awakened, the vagina expands, and its walls are lubricated to reduce friction. Nerve endings near the entrance to the vagina can bring pleasure during sexual activity.
The vagina also acts as a way to protect the baby – called the birth canal – and to release menstrual blood from the body.
Conditions Affecting the Vagina
Vaginal problems can affect many aspects of a woman’s health.
Some common conditions that affect the vagina include:
Vaginal odor Any odor that comes from the vagina is called “vaginal odor”. A strong odor with other symptoms can be a sign of a more serious problem.
Vaginal discharge A woman’s body usually gets rid of fluid and old cells by secreting vaginal discharge. But if the discharge is abnormal, it could be a sign of another problem.
Vaginal itching This itching, commonly called vaginal inflammation, can occur when there is swelling in the vagina. Bacterial imbalance, some infections or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be the culprit.
Vaginal dryness occurs when the vaginal tissues are not healthy and well lubricated. It can cause discomfort and infection.
Vulvodynia This condition is characterized by unknown chronic pain in the area around the beginning of the vagina.
In this congenital disorder, Hymen completely covers and prevents the vagina.
Vaginal Circle This condition occurs when the uterus, bladder, rectum, urethra, small intestine, or vagina itself deviates from its normal position and pushes toward a part of the vagina. This can lead to discomfort and sexual problems.
Bacterial vaginosis This common vaginal infection can be spread through sexual contact or caused by a bacterial imbalance.
Yeast Infection This infection is usually caused by the fungus Candida albicans.
The air trapped in the vaginal abdomen is sometimes expelled from the vagina during certain activities, such as sexual intercourse or exercise.
Vaginal Cancer Symptoms of this extremely rare cancer include abnormal bleeding or discharge.
STIs Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), syphilis and other infections can be spread through sexual contact. STIs can affect many aspects of vaginal health.
Vaginal – This condition is characterized by unnecessary spasms of the muscles around the vagina. It can cause pain and interfere with normal sexual activity.
Keeping Your Vagina Healthy
Here are some steps you can take to improve and protect your vaginal health:
Do Kegel Exercises This includes squeezing the muscles used to hold your urine. Kegels can help tone your pelvic floor muscles.
Practice safe sex as condom use can reduce your risk of STIs and other unpleasant vaginal conditions.
Getting vaccinated can protect you from some infections such as HPV and hepatitis B.
Limit alcohol and tobacco use. These substances can damage sexual function and stability.
Get tested regularly Seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis can help identify any potential problems.
Avoid douching and spraying. It is best to clean the outside of your vagina with non-irritating soap and water.