How Well Do You Know Your Vagina?

Hey ladies. How’s your vagina?

Erm fine thanks, was probably your gut response there (or “what bloody business is it of yours how my vagina is?”) but let’s face it, how much do you actually think about the health of your vagina? I don’t wanna go all back of the public toilet cubicle door here with you, but as women who spend so much time looking after our body, investing in the latest potions to tighten, smooth & soften our skin, understand how hylauronic acid works, how products containing sodium lauryl sulfate are actually doing more harm than good for our hair and eating avocados (on toast & Instagram) because it’s “good fat”, we don’t really know what’s going on in our intimate areas.

You may not want to have such a close relationship with your vagina, in fact you may never been that attached to it or been particularly up close with our minnie, fanny, tuppence or whatever nickname you have for it. You may have had a quick talk about periods in Year 7 had a good look at in a compact mirror (and then again when you watch the episode of Sex and the City where the girls encourage Charlotte to check herself out) but it’s imperative to keep your area squeaky clean to ensure good vaginal health. You can find out how much you know OR think you know by taking the quick quiz below.

Canesten want to help educate women and rid the stigma of talking about intimate health. So here I am talking about my experiences for all the world to see (& potentially my mum or colleagues) to try and remove that stigma and to let you know that intimate health isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s pretty much the same as having an ear or chest infection, but down below. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed seeking help if you had the flu, so why suffer in silence just because the issue is in your pants? You can

After openly admitting previously to some troubles I had down there, namely being allergic to my exes sperm, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more on the ball when it comes to ensuring that it’s a happy little environment and doesn’t cause me any trouble or afternoons in squirming agony desperate not to pee because of the pain. OH THE PAIN. We all know how excruciatingly uncomfortable it can be to develop any kind of problem in that area, in fact, I’ve often found myself upto my knees in cold water in a bid to soothe a burning yeast infection and it isn’t enjoyable.

When I was suffering with my sperm allergy (hello TMI) I was so quick to cry THRUSH, much like the woman who cried wolf and it was only after multiple failed trips to my GP and literally throwing money up my vagina on medications that wouldn’t work, I learned that a) it wasn’t actually an infection but also b) it’s often not thrush that gets your knickers in such a twist, it can be a little know infection called Bacterial Vaginosis (or BV if you’re using its street name).

Ever suffered from vaginal pain, burning, odor or discharge? All symptoms of BV.

You may like me have rushed straight for the thrush pessaries at the first sign of a problem but it might in fact be this little known infection called BV that is causing you hell rather than thrush. Let’s give thrush a BIT of a break, eh girls?

Lets talk vaginas.

The vaginal environment on a PH scale is normally acidic. Doesn’t sound particularly friendly huh?  There’s a reason for this hostility his prevent any nasties from growing and is kind enough to let the good bacteria (lactobacillus) to maintain a healthy environment. If the PH becomes less acidic, much like the sensitive balance of a rain forest, it can start to cause problems and lead to the development of BV. There are a number of factors which can affect the PH balance of your vagina, including over use of perfumed bath and shower products, the use of antibiotics and even sex. Not to be confused with an STI, BV can leave you susceptible to STI’s and even cause problems during early pregnancy if not treated. If you’re suffering from discharge or odour, lets face it, it ain’t pleasant and it can be embarrassing, but the worst thing you can do is try to cover things up using scented products including washes or spray deodorants for your nether regions, this will only irritate the infection. It can also be passed on from female to female so it’s worth nothing that if your female partner has it, you’re best to stay clear until it’s all cleared up. If the thought of no sex doesn’t leave you running to the chemist for a dose of Canesbalance BV Gel to soothe the pain and say buhbye to the infection, I don’t know what will.

Now that you’ve gotten to know a girls REAL best friend a little bit better, why not put your knowledge to the test in the Myth Buster Quiz below? I don’t mean to brag, but I did 6 out of 6 (I have done ALOT of research in the past though!)

Post written in collaboration with Canesten.