Many girls are raised thinking that it’s taboo to openly talk about things like feminine care. And when we begin to feel awkward at the mention of the word vagina, we end up with vag-related questions that we don’t know how to find answers for.
This doesn’t have to be the case though. Girls should be able to freely talk about the feminine area as it is an important part of our bodies. More importantly, caring for it begins with asking the right questions! This is why we compiled a bunch of Qs we’re betting you’ve been wanting to ask about your V. Read on:
1. I tend to feel wet down there. Is that normal?
The feminine area naturally lubricates itself to keep it clean and healthy, so generally speaking, yes, feeling wet down there is pretty normal. But aside from natural lubrication, there are also other factors that can cause your vag to feel moist, from sweat or vaginal discharge to bladder control issues or infections like bacterial vaginosis. Bottomline: Always check the fluids that come out of your vag and when in doubt, don’t be afraid to talk to your mom, older sister, or your doctor.
2. Does it normally *smell* down there?
Vaginas do smell and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. What you have to take note of though is that normal vaginal odor isn’t exactly strong. If it starts to smell fishy or rotten, it’s best to get in touch with a doctor, stat!
Also, don’t panic if the odor down there varies from time to time. That usually happens because of the vag’s ever-changing pH level. A healthy vagina has a pH level pegged at around 4.5, meaning that it’s slightly acidic. Before your period, that level usually goes up to help fight bacteria and yeast from multiplying.
However, there are other factors that lead to an unbalanced vaginal pH, such as diet and medication. When imbalance happens, it could lead to foul odors, which can be a sign of infection.
3. Should I shave my pubic hair?
Ultimately, shaving one’s pubic hair is a personal preference. Doctors do not entirely discourage the practice, but they do stress that our pubic hair is there for a reason—and that is to prevent bacteria from camping in our intimate area. When left unchecked, bacteria can cause not just odors, but infections and illnesses as well. If you feel like doing it though, make sure to do it properly to avoid bumps, razor burns, or rashes. Moreover, cleanse with a mild, hypoallergenic feminine wash to help prevent itch, irritation, and bacterial growth.
4. How do I properly cleanse my intimate area?
Here’s a quick refresher: The vagina is not what we see when we look down there. That bit, usually covered by pubic hair, is actually the vulva. And while the vag can take care of itself through natural lubrication and discharge, the vulva is prone to the accumulation of sweat and vaginal discharge. This is why it needs TLC. It’s best to care for it using gentle products over soaps, gels, and the likes that could give way to infections at worst.
5. Should I change my feminine hygiene routine as I mature?
As kids, we started washing around our feminine area with soap. And while that’s not necessarily a bad practice to carry into adulthood, you should know that your V's needs will change with age. For one, you'll need to stay on top of bacteria and other factors that can cause infections as your lifestyle evolves—things that your regular bath soap might not be able to address. When choosing cleansing products, make sure to pick a feminine wash that matches the vag's pH level, on top of being hypoallergenic and clinically tested. This will help protect you from foul odor, itch, irritation, and infection so you can always feel fresh and confident.