Being a woman comes with a truly unique set of responsibilities and concerns that seem to never end. From the moment we become aware of our vaginas, there is a constant barrage of things to buy, know and be wary of when it comes to our bodies. Though it can seem like mother nature isn’t truly on our side, the great thing about our vessel is that it is always sending us messages. From discharge to smells, if you’re paying attention, your vagina can give you some necessary clues as to what changes you need to make for everything to run smoothly. Many of us are not used to listening to our bodies for signals; therefore, tapping into the most intimate part of ourselves can seem pretty uncomfortable at first.
Here are 5 things your vagina may be trying to tell you.
Discharge is completely normal, in most cases; however, sometimes it’s a tell tale sign that something may need adjusting. Clear to white discharge is usually a sign that everything is working just fine but an overabundance of white discharge can be a sign of a yeast infection. This may mean that you need to cut back on sugar in your diet, may have changed sexual partners and your body is trying to become accustomed to them or you may need to switch up your underwear fabric. Yellow to green discharge can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection and may mean that you should get to a doctor and be tested. Gray discharge can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. BV is often attributed to the introduction of some unpleasant bacteria either from a sexual partner or from something you’ve worn or used in your vaginal area.
Burning or itching sensations.
Often seen as a sign of STI’s, burning or itching can also be a sign of a need to change feminine care products. If you’re not using organic options, your vagina may be irritated from the chemicals or fragrances present in the products. Try switching to our cotton feminine care for a month and note any changes that may present themselves. It may also be a good time to take a look at your laundry detergent. Sometimes, we do not consider that things we wash our clothes with could contain irritants for our most sensitive body parts. Of course, if you're burning or itching persists over an extended amount of time, consult your doctor.
Bumps on the surface.
Again, though bumps can sometimes be a sign of STD/STIs, this can also be a sign of ingrown hairs. If you shave your vagina or even for those girls who get waxes, you may be experiencing some blockages to hair growth in the aftermath. Ingrown hairs can cause bumps to form as the hair tries to push through the surface of the skin. If you find yourself suffering from these, try including exfoliation in your self care process. Of course, you never want to use products on the inside of your vagina; however, things that you would use on your face are usually sensitive enough for your vaginal area (excluding certain chemicals). Try using a gentle exfoliant between shaves/waxes and note if you see any changes in your vaginal skin.
Though we all should know by now that a normal and healthy vagina should not smell like roses or fragrances, we still need to be aware of any strong odors that may be emanating from our vaginal region. BV and STIs can cause odors; however, more common culprits are usually hygiene and diet. If you’ve noticed a change in the smell of your vagina, start to keep a food diary and take note of when you notice the most difference in your smell. This may help you zero in on a cause. Of course, if things do not improve, you need to see your doctor for a medical opinion.
Our bodies are always changing and with those changes may come a difference in our usual cycles. If you notice that your period is coming later, lasting longer or producing more blood than normal, it may be time to be tested for PCOS or other underlying conditions. However, irregular periods can also be a sign of increased stress, a hormonal change or a lack of rest. Try giving yourself some intentional self care before worrying too much about an irregular cycle.