The V Word... And the Other V Word

What was the first word you ever used to describe your vagina?

As kids, we’re taught that it’s our private part. It’s where the pee comes out. It’s almost taboo. As we grow older, we slowly hear and adopt new words for it.

The hoo-ha. The lady bits. The vajeen. The vajayjay. Or, if you’re a Georgia O’Keeffe fan, your flower.

Regardless of the nickname, we found any euphemism to avoid saying the dreaded V word: vagina.

According to a study completed by British charity Ovarian Cancer Action, around 2/3 of younger women surveyed were embarrassed to say the word “vagina” to their doctor, among others. They openly admitted that fear of the name prevented them from regularly seeing their doctors. Fear, of course, can lead to important issues like cancers and cysts going undetected.

One of the most important aspects of understanding your female genitalia is understanding and not fearing the terminology. Embrace what makes you female. Fearing the words can lead to believing common misconceptions about your anatomy.

Despite both our fear and ironic adoption of the word, too many women don’t know that the word vagina does not refer to the entire female anatomy. Everything you see, get checked or clean on a regular basis is not your vagina. Yes, there are the other commonly known parts, like your uterus and clitoris, but there’s one organ whose namesake is forgotten or overlooked.

And it starts with a V, too.


Which V is Which?

There are actually two V’s that make up your V: your vagina and your vulva.

A common misconception about the female genitalia is that the vagina is external. The vagina is actually an internal organ.

It is the internal tube connecting your cervix and uterus to your vulva. It’s how blood from your uterus leaves the body during menstrual cycles. It’s what sperm travels through to fertilize eggs. And, it’s what babies push through during childbirth.

Its elasticity and mucous lining allow for expansion and contraction, molding to fit whatever is there (tampons, an infant pushing out, etc.). Though its name is commonly used as the blanket term for the entire female genitalia, only your doctor really sees much of it.

The vulva is external. It’s the part of your genitalia you are most familiar with, because it’s the part you see on a daily basis.

The vulva consists of the clitoris, labias majora and minora, and your vaginal opening, among other parts. It protects from contaminants entering the internal vaginal organs (majora and minora), aids in sexual stimulation (clitoris), and produces moisture from labia glands.


Why Is It Important?

It is more anatomically correct to refer to each part by its respective name, especially when discussing any medical concerns with your doctor. Using the right name will also help you better understand your doctor as she or he addresses any issues.

However, when it comes down to it, what is most important is what you’re comfortable with, and not being afraid of a few little V words.


What Is “Normal”?

Everyone wants to be normal, even when it comes to your genitals. Does hers look different than mine? Is it okay for this to be shaped like that?

Your vulva probably doesn’t look like anyone else’s, and THAT is normal. Though you can’t see it, your vagina probably doesn’t look like anyone else’s either. There is no standard way for your vulva or vagina to look. Each one is as unique as Ms. O’Keeffe’s flower paintings.

That said, any changes you wish to make are also totally normal. You should live in the body you’re comfortable with, whether that is in its current form or with a few tweaks.

If you’ve ever wondered about or considered vaginal rejuvenation —either to improve vaginal conditions such as dryness and discomfort, or to tighten the vagina, increase the appearance of the labia and vulva or improve sensation of the clitoris— V-Revive’s suite of non-surgical therapies may be able to help. Schedule a free phone a consultation with us today and stop fearing the V.

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