I cannot tell you how many times I have a conversation with my patients about the importance of taking a peek at what’s down under. I wanted to share with you a few of the reasons why it is so important.
If you don’t look, how will you know what your normal is?
If you take a small mirror and look at your vagina, when you have no symptoms, you can look at the color, the size, how things look on you. Because, let’s face it. We’ve seen pictures but what is it really supposed to look like?
Well, everyone is different. Yours will look much different than your best friend and all of the other women in the world.
You can make sure you do not have any colors that do not look like healthy tissue, or even spots that are bleeding. You can check and make sure there is no tissue where it should not be. I then get asked what is a normal color? A healthy pink. Not bright red, or redness which looks like irritated tissue. Without touching, look at what the tissue looks like. Look at your labia majora (big/thick lips), then the minora (thinner lips), spread them apart and look around. Check color, placement, color of any discharge you may have. Get familiar!
I recommend you look before trying to become pregnant, during your prenatal period, during pregnancy, and postpartum. You do not need to look everyday, just become aware of your “normal” and that way you know what to look for when checking! You want to ALWAYS be aware of what is going on down there and be sure you are noting if anything seems off.
If you don’t look, how will you know if something goes wrong?
If you do not take a peek, how will you ever know if the episiotomy you had is not healing? How will you know if the incision is infected? How will you know if there is some sort of growth? What about a mole that is becoming discolored or becoming too large? Ingrown hairs? Abnormal colored discharge, because you truly cannot see the color on your panty liner?
You won’t know any of those things unless you do look! I also HIGHLY recommend a pelvic physical therapy assessment during your prenatal, pregnancy, and postpartum phase! That way you have a skilled set of eyes to take a look as well and determine whether your tissue is healing/looks healthy, whether you potentially need to have a hormone panel done, etc.
You will be more in tune with your body knowing your own anatomy (e.g. during sex, masturbation)
This one makes many women uncomfortable but I have to say it anyways:
masturbation is good for you. It helps to keep your tissues healthy and if you are having orgasms and increasing the blood flow to the area, you will be less likely to have less lubrication later on in life which decreases symptoms of dryness and decreases pain with intercourse, the need for hormones, use of extra lubrication, etc. So, ladies, if you are not having intercourse don’t be afraid to help with your own health!!!
Now, there is a lot of information about this topic out there and how to do it, etc. I am not a huge fan of going straight for the vibrators or straight for the toys. The reason for this is exactly what I’m talking about in this blog. I want you to explore your own body. I want my patients to know exactly where things are, we go through the anatomy, I want them to know what feels good and what doesn’t. Being able to do so while also pleasuring yourself is just a win-win!!
This is especially important for patients who experience pain with intercourse. That way you can still get the benefits!!!
As mentioned before, I highly recommend a visit to your local pelvic physical therapist to have a second set of eyes on you and to also help teach you and educate you about what to look for!!