We're well into the 21st century and it's still not ok to talk about vaginal health.
Far too many women are still terrified to use words like vulva and vagina, let alone ask their doctor about what's going on in their sex lives. And to be honest, it's completely understandable. Girls are conditioned from a young age to think of their vaginas as something dirty or secret.
We say, to heck with that. Every woman deserves to have a healthy vagina and a thriving sex life — and she deserves to have all her questions answered.
Here are five questions you've probably been too embarrassed to ask your doctor. And if you think we've missed anything, please let us know in the comments below!
#1 – Can I tighten my vagina?
We’ve all heard of Kegels, yet so few of us do them. Most women assume that besides Kegels, there’s nothing more they can do to reduce vaginal laxity. But these days, there are new options available — women are just too embarrassed to ask. There seems to be shame in the fact that it’s not as “tight” as it once ways. Let that shame go!
Vaginal laxity, or the feeling of vaginal looseness, is common, especially after childbirth. In fact, an Australian study of first-time moms found that some form of female sexual dysfunction was reported in 58% of mothers one year after childbirth.
If you're afraid of being prescribed reconstructive surgery for vaginal laxity (we would!), you will be happy to know there are many other treatment options available that can improve vaginal tightness in a simpler and less invasive way. Talk to your doctor. The more you learn, the more you will be empowered to take control of your vaginal health.
#2 - Why is my period so heavy?
Unfortunately for many girls and women, having a "heavy flow" is a another big source of shame.
By the time we reach adolescence, we are conditioned to dread and fear our periods. Especially, if they're heavy.
But a heavy period may be indicative of a bigger problem and it's important to get help if you need it. Illnesses such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis both include heavy periods as a symptom. There's no need to suffer in silence. With the right treatment, living with these disorders can be much easier.
#3 - Why am I not wet anymore — especially when I’m still attracted to my partner?
Changes in estrogen levels due to childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause may cause vaginal dryness in many women.
In fact, according to the charity Women's Health Concern, approximately 17% of women aged 18-50 experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex, even before menopause. And over 50% of post-menopausal women between the ages of 51 and 60 experience vaginal dryness.
Are we really supposed to give up on sex after a certain age? Um, no.
There are a variety of options that can improve the symptoms of vaginal dryness and make sex fun again, regardless of how old you are or how many babies you've had. Again, talk to your doctor and see what’s right for you.
#4 - Why don't I enjoy sex anymore?
Major life events like babies and menopause can trigger a change in the way you feel during sex. For too many women, rather than being fully celebrated as awesome feats of your womanhood, these milestones mark a somber downturn in your sex life.
That's just not ok.
While conditions such as vaginal laxity and dryness can have a negative impact on your sex life, it doesn't have to be that way.
Whether you need practical ways to get out of your head so you can get closer to your partner, or solutions to improve your vaginal wellness, know that there are ways to reclaim your sexuality and love every part of being a woman.
#5 - Is this normal?
For many of us, even the smallest problem with our vaginas can be a cause for major anxiety — an unusual smell, discharge, or pain. And though we may not be served up with the countless drugs and Viagra marketing campaigns as our male counterparts, the truth is 40% of women experience sexual issues.
And yes, it is normal. But that doesn't mean it has to be your reality.
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